Jack Whyte: Order in Chaos

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The third novel in the thrilling historical trilogy about the rise and fall of the powerful and mysterious Templars, from the author of the immensely popular Camulod Chronicles.Order in Chaos begins just prior to Friday the thirteenth of October 1307, the original Day of Infamy that marked the abrupt end of the Order of the Templars. On that day, without warning, King Philip IV sent his armies to arrest every Templar in France in a single morning. Then, with the aid of Pope Clement V, he seized all the Temple assets and set the Holy Inquisition against the Order. Forewarned at the last minute by the Grand Master himself, who has discovered the king's plot too late to thwart it, Sir William St. Clair flees France with the Temple's legendary treasure, taking with him several hundred knights, along with the Scots-born widow of a French Baron, the Lady Jessica Randolph. As time passes and the evidence of the French King's treachery becomes incontestable, St. Clair finds himself increasingly disillusioned and decides, on behalf of his Order, to abandon the past. He releases his men from their "sacred" vows of papal obedience and leads them into battle as Temple Knights one last time, in support of King Robert Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn. And in the aftermath of victory, he takes his surviving men away in search of another legend: the fabled land, mentioned in Templar lore, that lies beyond the Western Ocean and is known as Merica.

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Praise for the Templar Trilogy

“To read Jack Whyte is to surrender to a storyteller of the old school. His writing is firmly rooted in the basics of good storytelling: strong characterization, effective plotting, and excellent writing.”

Quill & Quire

“Whyte, a master at painting pictures on an epic-sized canvas, pulls the reader into the story with his usual deft combination of historical drama and old-fashioned adventure.”


“It is here that the origin of the Knights Templar is revealed … Taut and gripping.”

The Vancouver Sun

“Enough loose ends and cliff-hanging dramatic turns to guarantee an audience for volume two.”

The Globe and Mail

“Whyte’s Templar Trilogy … finds the author in his top form. Few authors can match Whyte when it comes to epic battle scenes involving blazing heat, choking dust, rearing horses, and thousands of sword-wielding knights and Saracens locked in mortal combat.”

Publishers Weekly

“[Standard of Honor’s] quick rise to the upper reaches of the bestseller list, not to mention signs of strong word of mouth, suggest that Whyte’s star is rising even higher.”

Quill & Quire

“Whyte brings his Templar Trilogy to a rousing conclusion … Readers are in for a thrilling, exhilarating ride. There’s a reason why Whyte’s historical novels are so popular: he adroitly juggles fact and fiction, using real events as a jumping-off point for stories that feel historically right. Fans of the previous two novels who have been clamoring for this one since 2007 will not be disappointed.”





To my wife, Beverley, mentor and care giver, who knows, invariably, when to leave me alone and when to haul me out of my hermitage and back into the light of lifeThank you yet again.

I will give them into the hands of their enemies … and I will make [them] a desolation.

—Jeremiah 34:19–22




Even a man with no eyes could have seen that something was wrong up ahead, and Tam Sinclair’s eyes were perfect. His patience, however, was less so. The afternoon light was settling into dusk, and Tam was reduced to immobility after three days of hard traveling and within a half mile of his goal. The reins of his tired team now hung useless in his hands as a growing crowd of people backed up ahead of him, blocking his way and crowding close to his horses, making them snort and stomp and toss their heads nervously. Tam felt himself growing angry at the press around him. He did not like being among large numbers of people at the best of times, but when they were compressed together in a solid crowd, as they were now, the stink of their unwashed bodies deprived him of even the simple pleasure of taking a deep breath.


“Aye!” One of the two young men who had been lounging and talking to each other among the covered shapes of the wagon’s cargo pulled himself upright to where he could lean easily with braced arms on the high driver’s bench. “Whoa! What’s happening? Where did all these people come from all of a sudden?”

“If I knew that, I wouldn’t have had to interrupt your debate wi’ your young friend.” Tam glanced sideways at the other man, quirking his mouth, almost concealed by his grizzled beard, into what might have been a grin or a grimace of distaste. “Go up there to the gates and find out what’s going on and how long we’re to be stuck here. Maybe somebody’s had a fit or dropped dead. If that’s the case, I’ll thank you to find us another gate close enough to reach afore curfew. My arse is sore and full o’ splinters from this damned seat and I’m pining to hear the noisy clatter as we tip this load o’ rusty rubbish into the smelter’s yard. And be quick. I don’t want to be sleepin’ outside these walls this night. Away wi’ ye now.”

“Right.” Young Ewan placed a hand on the high side of the wagon and vaulted over it, dropping effortlessly to the cobbled roadway and pushing his way quickly into the crowd. La Rochelle was France’s greatest and busiest port, and the high, narrow gates of its southern entrance, directly ahead of him, were fronted by this wide approach that narrowed rapidly as it neared the check points manned by the city guards.

Tam watched the boy go and then swung himself down after him, albeit not quite so lithely. The wagon driver was a strong-looking man, still in the prime of life, but the ability to do everything his apprentices could do physically was something he had abandoned gladly years before. Glancing intolerantly now at the people closest to him, he made his way to a small oaken barrel securely fastened with hempen rope to the side of the wagon. He took the hanging dipper and raised the barrel’s loose-fitting lid, then brought the brimming ladle of cool water to his lips and held it there as he looked about him, seeing nothing out of place or anything that might explain the blockage ahead. He did notice a heavy presence of guards with crossbows lining the walkways above and on each side of the high gates, but none of them appeared to be particularly interested in anything happening below.

In the meantime, young Ewan had moved forward aggressively, anonymous among the crowd. He was soon aware that he was not the only one trying to find out what was happening, and as he drew closer to the gates he found it increasingly difficult to penetrate the noisy, neck-craning throng. He was eventually forced to use his wide shoulders to clear a passage for himself, elbowing his way single-mindedly towards the front, ignoring the deafening babble of shouting voices all around him. He was almost there—if he stood on his toes he could see the crested helmet of the Corporal of the Guard—when he became aware of louder, shriller voices directly ahead. Three men came charging towards him, plowing through the crowd, pulling at people as they went, pushing and shoving and trying to run, wide eyed with fear. One of them shouldered Ewan aside as he surged by, but the young man regained his balance easily and swung around to watch the three of them scrambling into the throng behind him, dodging and weaving as they sought to lose themselves among the crush.

The crowd, like a living thing sensing the terror of the fleeing men, pulled itself away from them quickly, people pushing and pulling at their neighbors as they fought to keep clear of the fugitives, and in so doing exposing them to the guards in front of and on top of the gate towers.

The Corporal of the Guard’s single shout, ordering the fleeing men to halt, went unheeded, and almost before the word had left his lips the first crossbow bolt struck the cobblestones with a clanging impact that stunned the crowd into instant silence. Shot from high above the gates, and too hastily loosed, the steel projectile caromed off the worn cobblestone and was deflected upwards, hammering its point through the wooden water barrel from which Tam Sinclair was drinking, shattering the staves and drenching the man in a deluge of cold water that soaked his breeches and splashed loudly on the cobbles at his feet.

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