Thursday, January 19, 2012

Do You Believe In Legends?

Morning, everyone!  Thanks for having me here today and letting me talk about my new paranormal release IMMORTAL HOPE and the legend that it’s based on, the Knights Templar.

Templar knights defied the archangels and unearthed the copper scroll, revealing the gates to hell. Cursed for their forbidden act, they forever roam the earth protecting mankind from evil. But darkness stalks them, and battles they fight bring them ever-closer to eternal damnation. One promise remains to give them salvation – the return of the seraphs.
Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers she possesses a sacred artifact that marks her as a seraph. Duty demands he set aside his personal quest and locate the knight she’s fated to heal. As he struggles with conflicting oaths, Anne arouses buried hope and sparks forbidden desire that challenges everything he’s sworn to uphold.
Anne has six weeks to complete her thesis on the Knights Templar. When Merrick takes her to the Templar stronghold, he presents her with all she needs—and awakens a soul-deep ache, he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she's destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.

IMMORTAL HOPE is the product of a lot of research and a lot of speculative fiction.  We all know, per history, that the legendary knights went to the Temple Mount and found something in the tunnels beneath.  What that something in has ranged from the treasure of Jerusalem to the essence of Christ and those myths, those legends, have firmly rooted themselves into our culture. 

But when I designed IMMORTAL HOPE and the companion books in the series, The Curse of the Templars, I didn’t want to travel the path Dan Brown and so many others have.  I didn’t want to speculate on what the knights found – even though that question is used to ground the reader throughout IMMORTAL HOPE itself.

What fascinates me more as a historian is what happened to the Knights Templar. 

Here’s the facts:  They were founded between 1118 and 1119.  They built mesmerizing Cathedrals.  They acted as ‘bankers’ for nearly every European throne.  They were rich and powerful with members claiming kingships.  They owned their own navy fleet, built roads and trade routes, their battle skills were invaluable.  In short they had strength and power, physically and politically, and enough numbers throughout their network to found their own country.

Then, after existing for two hundred years, they virtually disappeared.  The night before hundreds were arrested, an entire fleet of ships, ripe with the Order’s wealth, vanished. Templar members and leaders were arrested and tortured into confessions.  Leaders held in Chinon were pardoned in secret… and then executed anyway.

Why, is the driving premise in IMMORTAL HOPE.  Anne MacPherson, the heroine, speculates it related to the Church feeling threatened.  

There are other theories about what may have happened to them, but scholars are leaning more and more toward the Templar being a threat to the French Throne and the Church.  Still, the mysteries surrounding them leave history ripe for speculation.

-          Some people believe the Knights Templar took refuge in Portugal, becoming the Knights of Christ
-          Theories amass that the members of the Templar quietly joined ranks with the Knights Hospitaller
-          Speculation exists that the Templar united with the King of Scotland, sharing the mutual ban of excommunication, and took refuge in the North (Rosslyn Chapel verifying this)
-          Treasure hunters believe the Knights Templar journeyed to North America and hid their treasure here (Oak Island Money Pit)
-          Historical record indicates a strange turn of events in Switzerland around this time when a mighty fighting force entered, and Switzerland became the ‘closed’ country it is today.

I tend to believe the latter – that the knights moved into the mountains.  They had the banking skills, the political connections, the power to defend their territories, the know-how to operate at governmental levels. 

But what about you?  Do you believe the legends?  One in particular perhaps? 

Or do you believe in the truth, according to Merrick du Loire, cursed commander of the North American Knights Templar:

The Curse

In 1119, nine knights rode with Hughes de Payens to the Holy Land, becoming the Knights Templar. All were bound by marriage or by blood. Eight were recorded over time. The ninth vanished into history.

Beneath the legendary Temple Mount, the knights uncovered holy relics, including the Copper Scroll—a document written by Azazel’s unholy hand. For their forbidden digging, the archangels exacted a sacrifice. The knights would spend eternity battling the demons of Azazel’s creation, but with each vile death they claimed, a portion of darkness would enter their soul. In time, they would transform into knights of Azazel, warriors veined with evil, destined to fight against the Almighty.

Yet an ancient prophecy remained to give them hope. When darkness raped the land, the seraphs would return. Female descendants of the Nephilim would carry the light to heal their dying souls.

Centuries have passed. Azazel’s might grows to intolerable limits. With the acquisition of eight holy relics, he will gain the power to overthrow the Almighty.

Six Templars stand above the rest in duty, honor, and loyalty. But each is haunted by a tragic past, and their darkened souls rapidly near the end. As they battle both the overwhelming power of evil and the nightmares of lives they left behind, the seraphs are more than tools to victory.

They are salvation.

Thanks again for having me here today!

TWITTER: @ClaireAshgrove

Claire will be giving away a $25 gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a second $25.00 gift certificate to a second randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour.  Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning! Click the Blog Tour badge for a complete list of blog stops.


marybelle said...

There is no one legend I believe above all others. Perhaps they were just hunted down & eradicated. The legends are fascinating though & it does make you wonder how much truth exists.


mcv said...

I believe the legend of Bigfoot is probably true. There are just too many sighting from credible people.
I don't know too much about the Templars, so reading your books will fill me in. I do recall hearing something about the possibility that their treasure was hidden in North America. Perhaps some did flee to Canada or elsewhere with their riches.
mcv111 at hoptmail(dot)com

Joanne said...

If I can't see it, I usually don't believe it. I mean legends are mostly based on here-say not fact (the legend of Sleepy Hallow, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster). I like learning about history when reading especially when I can also be entertained.


booklover0226 said...

Hi, Claire.

First, I really enjoyed this post; I enjoy reading about legends and myths.
Second, I think you are on to something about the Templars going to Switzerland. Just think, Switzerland is known for being a "refuge", too.

Well, all I can is that I can't wait to read this and the series.

Tracey D
bokklover0226 at gmail dot com

Sophia Rose said...

The not knowing is why the Templars are such a fascinating part of history. History's mysteries have always been a weakness for me and I devour it in books and on the History and Discovery channels. I said on a different blog tour posting that I thought the Templars were not gone, but blended in which makes the last of your theories the one I am leaning toward. I just got the book in the mail today so I look forward to discovering the 'real' story. (-;

Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

Renee said...

I don't necessarily believe in a legend but LOVE reading about them. I always love to imagine what it would be like to be caught up in them.

JoAnna said...

Hi Claire. Another great post. I have no inclination towards any of the legends.

beckerjo at verizon dot net

Pat Cochran said...

I tend to lean toward the Switzerland theory. The
Templars were "bankers for nearly every European
throne" and what is Switzerland's chief occupation?
"CFOs" for a great many of the world's mega-monied
persons and corporations!

Pat Cochran