Tuesday, 28 September 1999

Leslie Charteris: Knight Templar (1930)

Alternative title: The Avenging Saint
Edition:  Hodder & Stoughton
Review number: 338

Following The Last Hero, it must have been quite a challenge for Charteris to know where to take the Saint next. He hardly hesitated, however, before writing the third novel in the saga, Knight Templar. The villain, Rayt Marius, is back, still intent on world domination by provoking a war. Simon Templar follows him to England, seeking revenge for the murder of Norman Kent and overlooking the fact that he has become one of Britain's most wanted men. Marius' reason for going to England is typically devious: Sylvia Delmar and Sir Isaac Lessing are about to get married, and this will lead to a merger between oil companies owned by her father and her fiancé. Marius wants to fragment the oil industry so that he can have more influence there, so he sets out to kidnap Sylvia and force her to marry another man.

The plot is fairly typical of the thirties thriller, but Charteris handles it in what is distinctly his own way, leading up to another surprise ending incredibly audacious for the time.

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