I almost flipped out over this series today because I went to request the second book and found that it was never published. Not to be deterred, I used my mad librarian skillz and discovered that, after the release of Solomon’s Thieves, the publisher bound all of the issues together rather than releasing them one at a time. The continuation to this story is found in the graphic novel: Templar. Crisis averted. And what is this comic about?
Solomon’s Thieves is a fun romp through 1300’s Paris at the time of the Templar’s disbanding and destruction. The focus of the story is on a knight named Martin. He was unlucky in love and joined the order to change his life, which he manages to do. But, on the Templar’s return from an unsuccessful campaign in the Holy Land, after a wild night of drinking and some bad choice making in Paris, he ends up not being present when his brethern are arrested by the French king, Philip the Fair. The adventure really starts when the king’s men discover that the fabled treasure of the Templars is not in their church/compound. Martin, after a series of misadventures and a chance meeting with some unsavory characters, decides to find out where that treasure is and steal it back.
Bit of trivia: the Paris Templars were arrested on Friday, October 13th, 1307. So, 709 years ago tomorrow (I wrote this review on October 12th, 2016). Now, you know.
From the introduction: “From humble beginnings the Knights Templar rose to become the most powerful military monastic order of the medieval world. Pledged to protect pilgrims during the Crusades, the Templars become heroes to Christians everywhere. Their fighting prowess was legendary. … But the Crusades were an expensive, blood-soaked failure. In 1291, after two centuries of warfare, the Muslims drove the Christian armies from the Holy Land once and for all. For the Templars, it was the beginning of the end…” Goosebumps!
I’d consider this a PG13 level comic because of some rough language, non-graphic violence (dude sticks his sword through the chest of a guy in one of the panels, but there isn’t blood everywhere), and some, again non-graphic, torture scenes.
The afterward by Jordan Mechner is fantastic. Not only does he give the actual history that he based the comic on, but also the sources that he used to research it. Huge librarian thumbs up from me. 🙂 “Like Western gunslingers or Japanese samurai, their legend grew, and it attracted new recruits, donations, and privileges. By their peak in the thirteenth century, the Templars had grown into a religious, military, and banking organization whose assets, power, and reach rivaled any of the kings of Europe. They were the Jedi of their time. Their incredible downfall rocked the world. Its echoes reverberate to this day.” pg 135
If you enjoyed this comic, you may like: The Religion by Tim Willocks(regular book- not a graphic novel, very bloody, for adults only) or The Knights Templar: Discovering The Myth And Reality Of A Legendary Brotherhood by Susie Hodge (regular book also- non-fiction but in-depth examination of the templars).
Thanks for reading!