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Peter Nicholas Farrell
on Feb. 12, 2013 :
Not my normal type of book but enjoyable none the less. I would probably classify it as pure escapism. It is perfect to fill in some time, no deep thinking required, no long, complex list of characters to remember. I hope to read the rest of the series soon.
(review of free book)
on March 13, 2010 :
Sigh. When a writer describes himself in terms such as these:
"Joe is the author of more than a dozen novels, including the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles trilogy (HERETIC, A SCREAM OF ANGELS, A TEAR IN THE SKY) , as well as the Hunt Chronicles series coming soon from Tor Books in the US and Pan Books in Germany. He has also written four installments in the internationally bestselling adventure series Rogue Angel from Harlequin/Gold Eagle.
He’s a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, a two time Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee, and the man behind RockYourWritingCareer.com, a membership site for writers who want to take their careers to the next level."
...he leads the reader -- this reader, at least -- to expect something more original than formulaic from him. A story that doesn't read like 90% of the horror fantasy being published today. A story that makes use of an original plot motif or two. A story whose protagonist isn't a copy of the protagonist in some recent movie.
Well, as my beloved Co-Conspirator Kate Dembinski has told me, some days your house burns up; some days your house burns down.
So: what do we have in The Heretic? The Knights Templar, reconstituted as a modern paramilitary force at the command of the Catholic Church? Okay, I'll grant that I haven't seen that one before, though Katherine Kurtz and others have made use of the Templars in recent fiction. Necromancers who attempt to employ the Spear of Longinus as a source of power? That notion appears in both "WitchBlade" and Keanu Reeves's movie "Constantine." A paramilitary commander, who labors for the Church but whose personal losses have cost him his faith? Whose ruthlessness and penchant for going "outside the lines" cause him to be regarded with suspicion by most of those around him? Trite.
Yet, despite all that, I did read to the end, and I don't regard the time or the money as entirely wasted. Nassise tells a fast-paced and adequately action-packed story of combat between those modern Templars and their necronomic and demonic adversaries. As with many of the military adventures popular today, if the reader can overlook the stereotypes and the reuse of plot elements from others' fictions, he can spend a few diverting hours over The Heretic.
There are several points in the story where one familiar with this subcategory of horror fiction simply knows what's coming down the turnpike. Commander Cade Williams's dead wife Gabrielle simply has to make an appearance as his personal rescuer, and of course she does. There simply must be a secret Churchly organization dedicated to protecting secrets and powers the rest of us must never learn about, and of course there is. And that organization simply must have a traitor embedded within it, though such a one would have to know he'd damned his own soul by betraying the Church to its demonic enemies. Each of these elements prompts a "yeah, yeah, what now?" reaction. Fortunately, the pace carries the reader forward swiftly enough that the irritations from those telegraphed developments are soon behind him.
But please, Mr. Nassise: Why are Cade Williams's soldiers firing Earthly bullets at unEarthly creatures? Demonic entities with magical powers, whose very existence is predicated on exemption from Earthly laws, such that a slug of supersonic lead would presumably have no effect on them?
Theme: There doesn't appear to be one. This is pure escapist action-adventure. It gets a pass on that basis.
Recommended for aficionadi of supernatural urban horror fantasy.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)