A rollercoaster ride - Reader Views
“AnaRose and the Templar’s Quest” by Mary Ann Bernal is an action thriller that follows the adventures of a young museum curator and expert in antiquities, who has been requested by the European Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities to authenticate a long-lost historical ring believed to have belonged to Lord Balian of Ibelin.
The proposition lands AnaRose and her assistant Jo Hughes in France, where they are apprised of a legendary tale regarding an ancient dagger made by Lord Balian, whose whereabouts now seem traceable after a discovery is made regarding his already forgotten signet ring. The dagger is said to have a hidden compartment where he hid the Holy Nail, and interestingly, its hilt only springs open after pressing his signet ring’s imprint into the pommel. After a short briefing, AnaRose is ready to commence the investigation, but little does she know that more interested parties are watching her and that they will stop at nothing until they have taken possession of the artifact.
A stop at a historically preserved chapel reveals collapsed walls and overgrown weeds encroaching upon remnants of a forgotten period in history. AnaRose leads the way to the place where the altar supposedly was and immediately catches sight of a jagged rock which after a careful insertion of the signet ring, discloses an item wrapped up in fabric. She barely glances at the finding when a sharp object pierces into her neck sending her crumbling to the ground, unconscious.
Thorough studies, validation of supposition, and a keen eye turn out to be critical for this highly adrenalizing mission. Readers are bound to quickly adopt an active participant status early in the read, processing mystery clues, solving puzzles, and anticipating outcomes. The author has beautifully incorporated the disguise and deception concepts to build her story, as well as to trick the reader into believing some happenings to be true. Readers will appreciate the thrill and mysteriousness of the storyline where the depth and complexity of the characters are as compelling and important as the plot.
“AnaRose and the Templar’s Quest” has been structured as a rollercoaster ride that forces one to vicariously experience a series of emotions. The author skillfully and repeatedly gives her audience moments of respite and then throws them back into the action. Altogether, the read is very captivating, and the reader’s whole concentration is drawn in with every new page!
Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
AnaRose and the Templar's Quest is an action-adventure novella by Mary Ann Bernal set in contemporary times but inspired by events in medieval history. Dr. AnaRose Preston is a highly regarded curator of antiquities at a museum in the United States. A European antiquities institute requests she come to France to authenticate a ring believed to have belonged to the Templar knight who surrendered Jerusalem to Saladin during the Crusades. She rushes to Paris with her assistant Jo. The ring may hold a clue to locating a legendary religious relic that some believe is hidden in a dagger fashioned by the same knight. As they search for the dagger, AnaRose and Jo quickly realize that others are also looking for the relic, and the journey may be more dangerous than anticipated.
In AnaRose and the Templar's Quest, Mary Ann Bernal presents an entertaining story featuring an impressive protagonist. AnaRose’s personality, talents, and unique background as the child of renowned parents are skillfully revealed. The narrative is highly descriptive, filled with mystery and surprise, and moves at a good pace. The plot presents twists and turns that engage the reader as the clues are discovered. Eager and observant, Jo proves especially helpful in finding them. I especially liked AnaRose’s personal courage and her desire for adventure even when encountering danger. The ending leaves room for a sequel, and I hope one is in the works. An excerpt from Bernal’s novel Crusader’s Path is also included. A fun read at novella speed.