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Crusade of Fire: Mystical Tales of the Knights Templar    Editor Katherine Kurtz order for
Crusade of Fire
by Katherine Kurtz
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2002)

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*   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This 3rd collection of Templar tales includes: White Knights by Katherine Kurtz, Harvest of Souls by Deborah Turner-Harris, In the Presence of Mine Enemies by Susan Schwartz, The Last Voyage by Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, Bones of Contention by Richard Woods, Occam's Treasure by Robert Reginald, Stella Maris by Scott Macmillan, and Sleeping Kings by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald.

Stories are in historical order, separated by Interludes written by Katherine Kurtz to put them in context. The editor's own (rather dull) contribution tells a story of the Templars' beginnings in the Holy Land, with a mandate to protect pilgrims. In Harvest of Souls, Turner-Harris uses black magic to account for King Richard's slaughter of Saracen prisoners.

I enjoyed Susan Schwartz's In the Presence of Mine Enemies, which carries on from Ivanhoe to set the scene for a final encounter between an ageing, but still vital, Rebecca and her one time nemesis, Templar Brian de Bois-Guilbert. Kennealy-Morrison's offering, The Last Voyage, also stood out, and deals with the disappearance of a Templar fleet after mass arrests and killings of the Order in Europe - but then I always enjoy a tale of Keltia.

Woods' story is one of stealth and the attempted theft of a Templar relic; Reginald gives us a mystery in 1325 Avignon, solved using Occam's Razor; MacMillan plays a time travel trick on a submarine officer, whom he sends to forge documents on a Templar ship; and Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald's Sleeping Kings brings back Peter Crossman in a playful tale of a modern Templar who foils bad guys hoping to raise dead heroes - with a little help from Sister Mary Magdalene and the Wandering Jew.

Though they have their moments these stories are not extraordinary, and are recommended only for serious fans of Templar fantasy.

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