From Publishers Weekly
A dash of medieval mystery adds zest to this inventive melange of hard-boiled thriller and speculative fantasy. The refreshingly original hero, Peter Crossman, is an Inner Temple soldier in the Knights Templar, an order of paramilitary priests that has existed covertly since its presumed dismantling in the 14th century. Although he's used to challenging missions, Peter's latest proves a doozy when a tip on the whereabouts of a missing U.N. peacekeeping team leads him to a warehouse in Newark and a crate of living mushrooms that appear to flinch at the sign of the cross. Peter and his partner Simon later stumble on the gruesomely mutilated bodies of their confederates and wind up in the hands of the Teutonic Knights, a heretical rival sect whose figurehead, a brazen talking effigy, is the otherworldly key to past and present intrigues that have bedeviled Peter and his order. The jolts and torques of the roller-coaster plot are completely unpredictable, but Macdonald sets them up credibly, with subtly deployed clues and skillful misdirection of the reader to supernatural explanations for crucial plot developments. The Knights Templar angle also gives events an interesting moral dimension and a distinctive focus for the development of Peter's character through the unique obligations it creates (such as having to give absolution to an assassin preparing to kill him in an early scene). Though other novels have blended mysticism, mystery and fantasy, few have done it as smartly or succinctly as this one with his wife, Debra Doyle, under the pseudonym J.D. Macdonald.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.