The Templars, Two Kings and a Pope, is the novelized reconstruction of a crucial 25-year period in Templar history, before the Order of the Temple was disbanded. At one level, this is the story of a covert war, of the secret organization known as The Brotherhood, and of the one man who stood at the center; a Swiss named Lord Otto de Grandson who became England’s King Edward I right-hand man. At another level, this is a spiritual story about Jesus’ secret teachings that he reserved for the select few. These teachings became the Brotherhood’s reason for being, why they fought their covert war against France’s King Philip IV, and the motivation behind their quest for egalitarian governance, a resurgence of democracy that led to the creation of Switzerland, the French revolution and the United States.
The story involves a treasured possession that became known as the Holy Grail.
This novel foreshadows how the Templars ended up in Scotland and Switzerland giving rise to a banking industry, and sheds light on the preservation of what is now called “The Knowing” in the Kabbalah, Sufism, Mystical Christianity,and the Rosicrucians, and “The Ancient Mysteries” in the 33rd Masonic Degree.
This is a true story. Well-founded speculation in the form of fiction was used to fill in the gaps and mistakes sometimes inadvertently, but more often quite purposively, made by historians over the centuries. The resulting story is close to what really happened seven centuries ago.
(Image adapted from the film “Arn The Knight Templar”)
“I haven't told you about the plot ...a picture is worth a thousand words. The cover depicts a battle-weary Templar on his knees in the sand before the cross of his sword. Stinking of the sweat and blood that mats his hair and is ground into his tunic, surrounded by the dead and injured from both sides, he tilts his dirty face Heavenward to tell God ...what?” (from Myshelf.com)
I started out with some basic questions: Who were really the Knights Templar? Was there a secret organization behind the Order? What was their fabled treasure? What happened to the Templars? I spent five years doing research, and I found more than I had expected.
The Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon was officially in existence for almost 200 years, from 1119 to 1312; warrior-monks who achieved notoriety in the Holy Land for their fighting skills and in Europe for their financial abilities. They were also rumored to be wealthy. In the period I studied events came to a boil: the Templars, along with all Christian armies, were thrown out of the Holy Land by the Turks in 1291, and in 1307 the French King Philip IV and the Pope imprisoned and tortured them supposedly because they had adopted heretical practices and become grossly overindulgent. That’s how the Order came to an end according to historians. But the legends claim that the Templars survived by settling in Scotland and Switzerland under the guise of a secret society, called “The Brotherhood.” The Rosicrucians in their 1614 Fama Fraternitatis—History of the Brotherhood—and other esoteric groups since then have claimed a direct connection, substantiating the notion that the Templars survived.
I sifted through the scholarly accounts as well as the legends and found a mishmash of information. Everyone agreed that the French King Philip IV was responsible for the imprisonment and torture of the Templars, but some historians neglected to mention that he accomplished that by exerting complete control over the pope, Clement V. The majority paid little attention to tactics, military hierarchy, the weapons and armor used, and ignored the training necessary to create a highly skilled and disciplined army. The legends, on the other hand, were rife with overblown claims, what became known as “Templarism.” Eventually I defined a clear portrait of the Order of the Temple and a credible version of events, which led to additional questions: How did King Philip manage to imprison the most powerful army in the world? Evidence suggests the Templars had foreknowledge of their demise. Who told them, and why didn’t they resist? There were around 15,000 Templars at the time, but only a little over 5,000 were arrested, mostly old men. What happened to the rest, the able-bodied? And what happened to the Templars’ money? Very little was recovered. I was also intrigued that tactics used by rebel armies of that time in Flanders, Aquitaine, Scotland, and Switzerland had a similar telltale Templar imprint. Why were the Templars involved in all these wars? And about their fabled Holy Grail, I arrived at the conclusion that it was real. The evidence pointed to an ancient secret that eventually became known as the Holy Grail, but it clearly went beyond anything material like a chalice. There were many hints of a Templar secret Gnostic mystical practice and rumors that they meditated, but how could a highly visible Catholic Order incorporate such a practice at a time when lesser transgressions from Church dogma meant torture and imprisonment? Lastly, I found a clear connection between the Templars and modern Masons, and so, another question arose: How did this come about?
I made two significant discoveries that helped answer the questions and led to writing this novel. The first was confirmation of the existence of The Brotherhood, predating the Templar order, a group which existed to safeguard a mystical Gnostic practice. There were several such secret organizations back then, including the Cathars, the Beguines and the Beghards, among the best known, but The Brotherhood was certainly the most powerful as it managed to survive and thrive. It functioned within the Templars’ core, a relatively small group of mystics surrounded by, and leading, a largely fundamentalist and often fanatical army.
My second discovery involved a largely unknown historical figure, Lord Otto de Grandson, England’s chief diplomat, royal counselor and without doubt a member of the Brotherhood. Lord Otto de Grandson was active when the Templars were rounded up by the French King. Following his trail provided the rest of the answers I was after. The Templars’ apparent destruction was just one more chapter in a covert war that started in 1294; three years after the warrior monks left the Holy Land. It was Lord Otto de Grandson who learned early on of the French King’s plans for empire and who maneuvered the Brotherhood to fight him, using a mystical treasure that became the Templars’ coveted Holy Grail. He was also instrumental in coming up with the ruse that saved the Order from oblivion.
Three months after publishing, I received solid confirmation about Lord Otto de Grandson’s role in the Brotherhood. The International Bundesbrief Society, an organization devoted to investigating Swiss heritage, wrote to tell me that they agreed with the conclusions and events described in the novel. Lord Otto de Grandson was a native of Grandson, a town in Switzerland, and his impact on Swiss history is only now being discovered!
View the following video about Othon de Grandson on YouTube:
The Knights Templar and Othon de Grandson – Grigor Fedan
begins in 1290, when Lord Otto de Grandson launched his scheme to stop the French King. It involved a prophecy, the search for the Templars’ mystical treasure, and the covert wars in Aquitaine, Flanders, and Scotland. It all culminated twenty-five years later with some dramatic seminal changes that helped transform the world in the upcoming centuries.
This is the true story of what really happened 700 years ago that involved the Templars and their Brotherhood, the kings of England and France, and a pope at the beck and call of the French monarch. I found the evidence of the Templars’ secret war and their journey that eventually led them to Scotland and Switzerland, in the same history books that maintain a traditional interpretation (i.e. that the Order was destroyed by a French king who acted in good faith, that the Templars were in the wrong, and that the pope was a legitimate and upright pontiff). To find the truth, all it takes is a willingness to let the evidence tell its own story. One key element, whether or not the French monarchs ever connived to conquer Europe, what I called “The French Scheme,” is central to my story. It is corroborated in Barbara Tuchman’s celebrated historical account A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century.
The Templars, Two Kings and a Pope is also a study of life in the Middle Ages, and a true portrayal of what it was like to be a Templar.