Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Levant Preceptory in Templar Magazine

Levant Preceptory, Indiana's only period recreation Masonic Knight's Templar group, is featured in the Indiana Supplement of the monthly Knights Templar Magazine for January.

Rosslyn Chapel Bans Photography

Beginning January 2nd, visitors to Scotland's Rosslyn Chapel can just leave their cameras in the car. The Chapel authorities say they are doing this for "health and safety reasons." It seems that videographers are tripping and falling on the uneven floor slabs as they watch their viewfinders instead of their step.

And still cameras? Oh, the flash bulbs cause epileptic seizures.

But don't worry.

The gift shop has plenty of souvenirs to make up for the loss of that keepsake photo you won't be able to take.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stephen Dafoe's Nobly Born

I'm way behind on author review on the new manuscript; last week was a mess that kept us away from home three days longer than anticipated; and I'm neglecting much that needs to be done this week.

That said, the last thing I need to be doing is reading a book that is not research on the current project, since Friday is my drop-dead cutoff for revisions. Nevertheless, my new copy of Stephen Dafoe's Nobly Born: An Illustrated History of the Knights Templar arrived while we were gone, and I haven't been able to stay away from it. So, this is no formal review, but a last-minute bid to recommend it for your Christmas list. (I mean, provided that you have already ordered The Templar Code For Dummies first.)

Stephen (publisher of Templar History magazine) has managed to do something fresh in the Templar book universe, and beginners and those thoroughly versed in Templar lore alike will find much to like about this book. Dreamers and "speculators" take note: this is no "Templars found treasure, sailed to Scotland, saved Robert the Bruce, started Freemasonry and hid their loot at Oak Island" waste of time. What it IS is a concise (deceptively thin-looking), historical examination of what is truly known about the Knights Templar, going back to medieval sources. Their formation, rise, organization, battles, failures and fall — all here, presented with Stephen's skill as a reporter, combined with his flair for making complex concepts easy to understand, and frankly, fun to read. A cursory flip through Nobly Born rewards you with an abundance of illustrations, many of them newly created by Stephen, showing battles, preceptories, troop movements, uniforms, hierarchy and more. All packaged in a truly beautiful edition by Lewis Masonic.

The book also features original artwork from Templar author and artist Gordon Napier and Indiana Masonic artist Stephen McKim.

This is truly unlike any other Templar book on the market, and well worth its £19.99 ($33) cover price.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Richard Leigh RIP

Holy Blood, Holy Grail co-author Richard Leigh died last week at 64 – obituaries said of a heart condition. Many who knew him believe it was ill health brought on by the aftermath of the disasterous lawsuit by him and his writing partner, Freemason Michael Baigent, against Dan Brown. Between the original suit and the appeal, their court costs came to more than £2.3 million (almost US $5 million).

Pridian's blog Codex Celtica does a good job in laying out Leigh's personality, his life and his most recent setbacks in Death of a Genteel Bohemian.