Templar trials retold in a convincing historical novel

The Templar trials of 1307-1314 are well documented by their records which were investigated by many scientists. There are, for instance, Malcolm Barber's classic The Trial of the Templars (2006), Helen Nicholson's The Proceedings Against the Templars in the Britisch Isles (2011), and more recently Alain Demurger's The Persecution of the Knights Templar: Scandal, Torture, Trial (2019). 

However accurate and descriptive these monumental scientific studies are, they focus mainly on the scientific facts, as they should. They are not intended to elaborate on how the people of the day, the Templars concerned in the first place, experienced, felt about and dealt with what happened. For this, historical fiction may come to the rescue, as far as it is sufficiently researched and based on historical data. A good example of such a novel is Non Nobis by Hanny Alders.

Originally published in Dutch in 1987, it has since been reprinted several times and also translated into other languages *). Hanny Alders' novel is taking place in France and England between early 1307, the year of the arrests, and mid 1314, the year Jacques de Molay, the last Templar Grandmaster, was burned at the stake at Paris. 

It tells the story through the eyes and personal experiences of the English Templar knight Richard the Bastard. Richard, at great personal physical and psychological costs, initiates, organizes and leads the Templar resistance, ultimately a failure, in France and England. The story is told in a detailed and apparently accurate,  history based timeframe. It takes care of convincing details such as on geographical setting, depiction of the life of the nobility including tournaments and personal clothing, as well as the gruesome details of early 14th century prisons and torture.  

Being a novel, the full actuality of the work can not be guaranteed. At the same time, the events described are possible at least. Therefore, this novel is a worthy addition to purely scientific literature on the Templar arrest, trial, resistance and collaps in France and England, as well as, only briefly touched in the end, its continuation in Portugal. 

*) The edition in German is called "Der Schatz de Templar", the one in Spanish "El tesoro de los Templarios", the one in Rumanian "Amurgul Templierilor" ; Regrettably English or French editions have not (yet) been pulished. Illustration top cover of the Dutch version.

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