Last week, I put out a press release through the PR Newswire service which was covered by over a hundred news websites – detailing my view that Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik has nothing in common with the reality of the medieval Knights Templar. Also – one of the themes of my newly published book Quest For The True Cross is that the Middle Ages was a good deal more multi-cultural and even globalised than Breivik would like to think. This is the text of the release that I put out – you can Google “the anti-Breivik Templar” and still see many sites carrying the story.
LONDON, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
A new Knight Templar adventure paints a surprisingly multi-cultural and globalised view of both the Middle Ages and the secretive military order.
“Quest For The True Cross” challenges the claims of Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik and others on the far right that the Templars would have rejected today’s multicultural agenda. Drawing on two years of research, the fictional story shows a Templar Order that fought for Christianity but never with a racist outlook.
Tony McMahon, the author, has encountered many of the modern lunatic fringe trying to claim the Templars as their political forebears. This is a gross distortion, he says.
“Running a Templar blog – http://thetemplarknight.com/ - and a Facebook page, I’ve unfortunately run into the far right. They’re trying to own the Templar brand but it’s time to seize it back. I’m afraid it’s not just Breivik but others who depict the Templars as proto-fascists. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Sir William de Mandeville, the book’s hero, has a Syrian companion – a ‘turcopole’ called Pathros. These were fighters hired from among eastern populations in modern Syria and Turkey. The Grand Master of the Templars even had a Saracen secretary and the knights were often accused of being too close to their Muslim opponents.
In the book, we see Pathros facing anti-Saracen barbs and William is forced to defend him from violence.
“The colour of his skin was not the issue but his association with the enemy and a heretical faith. He gets into trouble because of his perceived faith, not his race,” says former BBC producer and self-confessed history geek Tony McMahon.
William’s quest takes him from Jerusalem to medieval England and on to Al-Andalus – the Islamic caliphate that dominated southern Spain and Portugal. The book reveals a remarkably globalised world where Islam was long part of the European scene.
“This story is action packed and full of battles but it also touches on very current themes I wanted to address,” says McMahon.
The author of “Quest For The True Cross” was shortlisted in 2011 for Best Sports Biography for the story of 1980s boxer Errol Christie – “No Place To Hide”. He also wrote the biography of Neville Staple (vocalist in The Specials), “Original Rude Boy“.
- The Knights Templar today – who and where are they? (thetemplarknight.com)
- Anders Breivik declared sane – killer and self proclaimed Knight Templar (thetemplarknight.com)
- Quest for the True Cross – FAQs (thetemplarknight.com)