Templar: historical caper graphic novel from Prince of Persia creator

Templar is a beautifully executed historical thriller written by famed game designer Jordan Mechner (who created Prince of Persia) and drawn by Leuyen Pham and Alex Puvilland. As the title implies, the story is a conspiracy thriller about the treasure of the Knights Templar, an order of Crusaders who were persecuted by the King of France in the early 1300s; rounded up, tortured, accused of gross and sinful deeds, subjected to show-trials and put to death. The story of the Templars has been told many times, and there are umtpy-leven conspiracy theories about what became of the treasure the order looted during the Crusades. Mechner and co have created a smashing addition to the canon.

Templar is a fictional account of the lives of some of the (real) Templars who escaped the king's roundup; in this telling, they become badass ronins who wander the land, determined to clear the order's name and reclaim its treasure. What flows out of this is a classic caper story filled with glorious and horrible swordfights, skullduggery, torture, romance, banditry, piety, bravery and treachery. I came to this not knowing much about the Templars and caring about them even less, but found that once I picked the (massive) book up, I couldn't put it down. This is some great and exciting storytelling.

If this sounds familiar, it may be because you read the first third of it in 2010, published as Solomon's Thieves (Templar takes the story to some very good places that Solomon's Thieves can't get to). You also may be familiar with the team from the Prince of Persia graphic novel (I confess I didn't like that one very much — but I love this).

Though this is thoroughly fictionalized, the team are careful to mark out the bits that are historically accurate (to the best of anyone's knowledge, anyway), and they include a sweet little biography suggesting further reading. This is a great comic for grownups, but it's also a great way to introduce younger readers to medieval history.