Thursday, 14 February 2013

Why Katherine Kurtz' Knights Templar series doesn't work for me

Now I am not vain enough to assume that my criticisms of Ms Kurtz' work will apply to others, but here for what it is worth is my view of why I did not enjoy the first two books in the series (The Temple and the Stone and The Temple and the Crown) and why I will not read any further books in the series (if indeed more have been or are to be written; of this I am unaware).

These books can be viewed in two ways: as historical fiction and as fantasy fiction.

Historical Fiction

Historical fiction to be enjoyable (for me) has to be authentic. The introduction of the fantasy elements of magic, conjuration of demons, mystical powers of the biblical artefacts etc, renders this impossible in this work. Although I am sure that the historical elements of the work have been diligently researched and are probably accurate in every detail, this authenticity cannot be attained in the presence of the fantasy elements. Therefore, I did not enjoy the works in the sense of historical fiction.

Fantasy fiction

For me, for fantasy fiction to be what I consider good, one element is absolutely indispensable, and this is that I must be able to like the protagonist/s. Although there was nothing absolutely repellent about Ms Kurtz' knights, they failed completely to engage me. The characters were shady and incompletely drawn and appeared to me very two-dimensional. So the books for me did not work as fantasy fiction either. In fact as I reflect on those works of historical that I have enjoyed, it becomes apparent to me that in them too, the characters need to be well developed in order for the book to work.

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