My interest in the Knights Templar goes back many, many years, and first surfaced in print when I began writing about the Knights of Saint Michael in the Deryni series. (The Michaelines were intended as a melding of the best qualities of Templars and Jesuits–a formidable mix!)
Once the genie had been let out of the bottle, Templars just kept popping up in my writing. I dragged Debby into the fracas when they started surfacing in the Adept series. (She lives in Scotland and has a similar passion for Scottish history, so this was not difficult.) By then, I’d become a member of a modern Templar Order, been invested in a ceremony much as we describe in “The Templar Treasure”–and dragged Debby to a similar investiture–and had really begun digging for more information about their “crypto-history” as well as the mainline history that I outlined in “Tales of the Knights Templar” and “On Crusade.”
And then there was the Stone of Destiny. There’s long been a sub-thread to Scottish history that says Edward I didn’t get the real one when his men raided Scone Abbey–a substitution had been made–and hence, that the Stone recently returned to Edinburgh Castle (on “loan” from the British crown, to be “borrowed back” when they need to crown their next king) is not the true Stone. (I’ve seen one that some modern-day Templars claim is the real one, and know of at least one other, but neither matches the early descriptions.)
Not a lot remains at the site of Scone Abbey from the time of royal inaugurations there–we spent hours tromping around the grounds and questioning bemused guides–but we were able to piece together a plausible scenario for how the Templars could have made the switch and rescued the genuine article before Edward’s men got there.
The holy isle of Iona was another definitely magical place. We made our pilgrimage in the glorious spring of last year, following the same route that would have been taken by Arnault de Saint Clair and Torquil Lennox, and expanded on our magical impressions by drawing on the beautiful language of the Carmina Gadaelica. Similarly, we visited Balantrodoch, Dunkeld, Sterling, Falkirk… When you’re writing in the framework of real history, there’s nothing like on-site research!
And of course, the Templar story in Scotland goes on after Bruce is crowned. The Order of the Temple got the chop from the King of France only a year later; but it’s said that a band of renegade Templars charged in to save the day, banners flying, at the Battle of Bannockburn. If they did, I’m sure that Brothers Arnault and Torquil were there!
Copyright 1998 by Katherine Kurtz
Copyright© 2002, Time Warner Bookmark, Science Fiction and Fantasy books from Aspect, Warner Books, Inc. and Little Brown and Company. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. This article has been provided by Time Warner Bookmark and printed with their permission.