“The Cult of Venus” is the seventh book in David S. Brody’s Templars in America series. Since I belong to a family that has been either directly involved with or influenced by Freemasonry for generations, I was initially drawn to this book because of my love of stories involving the Templars and their influence on history. I also like books where the author takes some evidence from history and then spins a good yarn around it.
This book disappointed me on both fronts. In fact, I had to force myself to finish reading it. For me, it was labored by how the author, in what purportedly was an action story, revealed details ad nauseum using characters who often felt forced. They seemingly were both contrived and shallow.
The historian couple Cameron Thorne and Amanda Spencer-Gunn are the protagonists for the series. As the book begins, a stranger calls Cam to tell him that she is being chased because of some journals she is in possession of and that she has stashed them where her pursuers can’t find them. She is killed, and Cam recovers the documents. The journals were written by Prince Henry Sinclair, a Knights Templar primarily of legend, and chronicles how the Templars discovered North America centuries before Columbus did. The journals also relate that society once worshiped the “Goddess” and that Cam and Amanda’s preteen adopted daughter, Astarte, is actually by blood a priestess destined to become the modern “Goddess” and be worshipped worldwide.
So much for the plot. Now my assessments. All three of the main characters were a disappointment. Cam is supposedly smart and good at solving clues and mysteries, but he was oblivious to the fact that a woman in his office asking attorney/client privilege questions was involved in his sting. And afterwards he didn’t think to show Amanda texts from her phone. Not believable.
And don’t get me started on Amanda. Even after she had proof that the pictures in a previous book were faked, she didn’t believe, trust or forgive Cam, all because she thought she had been cheated on, despite his not having the opportunity to cheat, his swearing he didn’t do it and his pleading for her to trust him. And she gets upset because he won’t then trust her in another situation after what she put him through the first time. How can they be this mistrustful and still have a relationship?
And now adopted 12-year-old daughter, Astarte: She’s an orphan in a family that jumped through unbelievable hoops to get her, and she throws it all away to stay at school? And on the basis of one questionable picture, Cam worries more about his income than his family? Sorry! All this turned me off.
Turning me off even more, Brody decided to use this book to air his political grievances concerning President Trump’s 2016 election. In the process, he labeled half the country as racist xenophobes. This should not have been part of this story, was pointless and did not add one thing to it. And while I’m at it, his calling Templars and Masons names like “unwashed” had to be a major turnoff to Freemason readers everywhere. His tantrums have cost him one reader. And I’m sure I’m not alone.