I enjoy the occasional thriller, and I have an abiding interest in the medieval ordercalled The Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ and Solomon's Temple, or Knights Templar, for short. Since Dan Brown's silly little fairy tale, there have been many offerings in the thriller genre dealing with these Crusader-monks and their putative hidden purpose and succession down into the present. I enjoy these tales, as far-fetched and obviously ridiculous as most of them are, because they make for a pleasant adventure. Suspension of disbelief for the sake of the tale is usually easy. UNLESS ... the writer begins his tale with such egregious errors in historical fact that it blows one completely out of the story. Such a book is THE SWORD OF THE TEMPLARS. It has the same faults that most of these ancient-conspiracy-hidden-treasure-world-changing-revelation type books: utterly improbable thesis, insufficient motivation, plot driven as much by coincidence as by the protagonist(s)' actions, omnipotent and omnipresent villains. All this can be forgiven, if, as I said, one enjoys the occasional dip into this kind of story, as I do. What is unforgivable is the plain errors in Templar fact on which the author grounds his plot. Here are a few: **THE BOOK: Hughes de Payens, the Templars' founder, was said to have gotten the backing of Godfrey of Bouillon, who had seized the title of King of Jerusalem, for the creation of the Order of the Temple. HISTORICAL FACT: When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099, they elected Godfrey de Bouillon to rule the City, but he, a pious man, refused to accept the title of king in the city where Christ was crucified. He would only accept the title, "Defender of the Holy Sepulchre." Further, Godfrey lived only one year after the capture, dying in 1100. The Templars did not form until 1118 or 1119, under the sanction of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem. **THE BOOK:Attributes the pamphlet, "De laude novae militiae" ("In Praise of the New Knighthood") to St. Alberic of Citeaux. HISTORICAL FACT: De laude nova militiae was written in the period 1128 - 1131 to establish that the new order was justified in waging war and shedding blood. It was written by St. Bernard of Clairevaux. Alberic had died in 1108. **THE BOOK( p. 273): "Innocent was Pope during the Crusades. He was the one who eventually ordered the Templars to be arrested and killed." HISTORICAL FACT: Innocent was A pope during the Crusades, which lasted for more than two hundred years, but he was not the pope that presided over the destruction of the Templars. That was Pope Clement V, who, because of a promise he had made to King Philip IV (called "The Fair") of France prior to his elevation as pope, colluded with the French king in the sordid charges against and destruction of the Order. There are others. Mistakes like this rob the readers of the simple, escapist pleasures to be had in books of this ilk.