Templar Combat Prowess

When Templars fought in the Crusades they are sometimes mistakenly pictured as a large army. In reality, Templar forces were much smaller than other Crusader armies. But Templars, highly disciplined and effective fighters, were used in smaller units at the point of attack or rear guard.  They were the elite Special Forces and Combat Ops of their day.

It was not uncommon for from five to ten Templar Knights and 20 to 40 men at arms to defend a fortress and hold it indefinitely against a siege army of thousands. The Templar combat code was simple: they could not retreat unless outnumbered by more than three to one.

Templar cavalry was legendary and unmatched by either Saracen or Crusader forces.  Every Templar Knight went into combat with three chargers held for him by a man at arms. This allowed the Templar to change to a fresh mount, giving him great advantage in one-on-one fighting. Their horses were so revered that a Templar Knight could be excused from Mass (there were five per day) if they needed to care for their horses. They were never excused for any other reason, except personal illness.

Conflict and Hope

Coexistence

Given the seemingly endless conflicts between Islam, Judaism and Christianity — can the three ever creatively work together?

 In doing extensive research for my book “Twist of Time,” I discovered a very interesting answer to that question:  they have in the past with astonishing results.

 Remarkably, this occurred during intensive warfare; first, in the 1100’s  Crusades, and secondly, in the 1400’s under the rein of the Islamic Moors in Spain, both which pale the current War on Terrorism. In these separate periods Islamic, Hebrew and Christian scientists and scholars working together made brilliant breakthroughs in mathematics, medicine, optics, and astronomy.  They also translated Greek literature that strongly influenced the later Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment.

 In my novel “Twist of Time,” Thomas, a contemporary monk with a controversial past, falls in love with Kate, a homicide detective. Driving the novel is a diary written in 1314 by a Templar monk on a suicide mission. The diary is stolen and for the next 700 years whenever it reappears there are a series of murders. 

 Thomas, a Celtic scholar, has been hired to translate the diary. But the courier bringing it to him is murdered. True to the “curse” there are more homicides. Now Thomas and Kate must follow the diary, retracing the Templar’s flight before Thomas becomes the next victim. Pursuing them are powerful cartels that will kill to get the diary and discover its secrets.

 So, in researching a novel you never know what you will discover – even a glimmer of hope in these troubled times.

My Favorite BOSS HOGG Story

One of the joys in creating a television series is the actors you get the pleasure to work with — and the things you learn about them along the way.  In “Dukes of Hazzard” Boss Hogg was played by Sorrell Booke, who could not have been more different from the character he portrayed.

Sorrell was a sophisticated intellect. He studied drama at Yale and had a distinguished career on the stage and in feature films. He was also full of surprises – one in particular stands out.

 “Dukes” was filmed at Warner Brothers and its soundstage was popular with visiting dignitaries. On one occasion a group from the Soviet Union were watching the filming. Sorrell, dressed in full character as Boss Hogg, white suit and all, was doing a scene. During the break he was told who the Soviet visitors were.  He went to them and began conversing with the entire entourage in flawless Russian, much to their great surprise – and ours.

 We later discovered that he not only spoke Russian, Sorrell was actually quite fluent in several languages, including Yiddish and Japanese.

 It was something his “Dukes” fans would have loved to see.  Rest in peace my dear friend – you are missed!

SEX!

If you are a man and have been turned down by women over  50 percent of the time – REJOICE. You may be a writer and not know it. The same applies to women except they seem to have a considerably better batting average in relationships. However, the first rule in being a writer is not whether you have talent – but your ability to take rejection up to 90 percent of the time.  That is the average for even successful writers. So, give it a shot. What can you lose? If you can cope with rejection you are half way there. Should you have any writing talent it will show sooner or later. Well, that is the theory.

I wrote “Twist of Time” a romantic thriller, and though there is heavy action, there is also a strong love story, which involves a renegade monk who is enmeshed in a forbidden love affair with a lady homicide detective. But it is getting harder and harder to write sex or intimate love scenes because the reading public is much more sophisticated and knowing, due to the proliferation Adult sites and cable TV. That said, the most successful erotic themed novels that now focus on specialized sex: Example: S&M and Domination, would not have been so accessible several years ago.  Of course there were (S&M) novels, the most famous being  “The Story of O” which came out in the fifties, but its reading public was not main line. It was not even published in this country; it could only be purchased in England, France and Germany. It would appear that the influence today of the Adult sites and Cable shows have, on the one hand, given the authors more flexibility, but on the other, have made the task of writing erotic/sensuous scenes more difficult.

 

The Odd Connection Between the Dukes of Hazzard and Twist of Time

There is an odd connection between “Dukes of Hazzard” – the television series I created – and my novel “Twist of Time,” which is a high action romantic thriller. “Twist of Time” is about Thomas, a renegade monk with a mysterious past, who must solve 700 years of serial murders before he becomes the next victim. In addition, Thomas is locked in a forbidden love affair with Kate, a homicide detective.  So, like the Duke boys, Thomas breaks all the rules to get results, even though he is a monk.

When I created “Dukes” I drew upon my family (Uncle Jesse was based on my grandfather Franklyn ) as well as some of the boys I grew up with, who for fun and adventure, drove moonshine in the Kentucky hills.  In the same way the Dukes were raised by Uncle Jesse, Thomas the monk, was raised by his Grandfather in Scotland where he became a Celtic scholar.

In “Twist of Time” Thomas is hired to translate a 14th century diary written by a Templar Knight who was on a suicide mission. The diary disappeared. For the next 700 years every time it re-appeared there were serial murders.  Now, Thomas is marked to be the next victim.  How many times were those Duke boys targeted by Boss Hogg?

To solve the mystery and stay alive, Thomas and Kate must follow clues in the diary, which takes them to England, France and Scotland as they retrace the path of the doomed Templar.  All the while they are being chased by two illegal cartels that are after the diary and will kill to get it.  I seem to recall a few Dukes episodes where the boys were being chased by “illegal cartels” – ok, maybe not quite so illegal, but cartels none the less.

So I guess the moral to this story is don’t be surprised when something you are writing now bears more than just a passing family resemblance to something you’ve penned in your recent past.