When the mighty Kingdom of Jerusalem falls to the
Mamalukes, the Templars must flee to Cyprus where the Order becomes divided between the brothers who side with the bankers and seek peace and the brothers who want to recover the Holy Land and wish to wage war.
Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Temple, finds he is beset by enemies and during a meeting with Etienne his Seneschal, the Marshal of the Order Ayme, and Marcus the Grand Commander he says,
‘All is trade, profit and gold these days, and we would be foolish not to look at the realities that face us. Even if the Pope calls for a new Crusade, which could mean the end of this stalemate in which we find ourselves, even then it is my belief that the European princes will not look on it, since they are overspent from warring and it will seem to them foolery to spend money they do not have on a Crusade that will bring disorder to their trade! The bankers of our Order wish to encourage us heel . . .’ His eyes fell upon Ayme d’Oselier. ‘They wish us warriors to behave like bankers. I am not a learned man, but I was a man of God long before I was given a bank to run. Now God speaks in my head, in my heart and in my bones, and He tells me that we may not profit from His gold!’
It is decided that Marcus, the Grand Commander will leave Cyprus in a Merchant Galley captained by a mercenary, ex Templar, to Scotland carrying the Order's gold and archives while he and his seneschal, Etienne will travel to France to seek the Pope's sanction for a new crusade.
In France Jacques soon realises that both Pope and the King are conspiring against the Temple, but not merely for its temporal goods, and its gold, but also for the secret which has been hidden in the Grand Master's Seal - the Secret of the Rosicrucians.
The Pope tells him, '.If you are not careful, Jacques, ‘Philip will soon have other designs besides taking the Temple’s gold . . . the temporal goods of the Order shall become secondary to him. Think for a moment of the consequences. He shall seek most vehemently and most violently . . . he shall desire with all his heart the spiritual goods that you so heroically guard. Mark what I say.’ He stared cold and grave into that Templar eye. ‘These he shall covet most of all!’
Jacques sends Etienne, a battle weary and loyal Templar Knight who was once a Cathar heretic, and his loyal Captain, Jourdain, and two mercenaries to the furthest edges of Europe carrying the Royal Seal on which the secret is engraved in order to hide it for good.
Jacques knows he is a Rosicrucian for he was reminded of his promise by Christian de St Armand...he is told that what is hidden in The Seal was seen by the first Grandmaster in a vision in the Holy Land and that it was an aspect of the Secret of the Tree of Life which they must protect. Jaques realises that Etienne is one of them ...but as it is a rule that one brother can only remind the other of the promise, the brother must realise who he is in freedom, Jacques can only say the words: Seek wisdom like a bee seeks a rose.
In France Phillip le Bel King of France schemes with his lawyer, De Nogaret to arrange a surprise arrest in one day of the entire Order in France.
The Templars are seized and put to the torture, tried and thrown into jail where they are duped into believing they can defend the order through their lawyers.
During the trials, the daughter of a woman that Etienne loved in his youth, a Cathar noble called Beatriz finds herself in Paris and becomes a double agent and assassin working for Phillip's counsel and also the 'underground' Templars.
A boy Etienne saved at Acre becomes the charge of the Bishop of Paris and as he is a scribe taking evidence from the Templars, begins to act as a messenger between the jails. He doesn't know that by doing so he is inadvertently helping Phillip to send them to the pyre as relapsed heretics.
Beatriz and Julian meet and fall in love.
Meanwhile Marcus loses the gold in the sea of Scotland after a battle with an English Ship. He then falls into the seduction of evil and becomes the tool of the King of France against Etienne whom, he knows, is carrying the Seal with him to Austria to Lockenhaus Castle.
A chase ensues and Etienne is captured and nearly killed but he and his men escape the Teutonic Knights in the service of Phillip le Bel. Wounded Etienne is healed by a herbalist, who tells him of the rose cross but Etienne still does not remember who he is, he only has a vague idea of his promise.
Only later almost dying, is he reminded again of his promise by a woman who is looking after him. But he only remembers who he is when she dies, murdered by Marcus who has come to kill him and take the seal from him.
Etienne fights Marcus in a battle and kills him. He and his men return to their journey to Lockenhaus where the Seal will find its resting place.
Not long after Etienne and his men arrive at the castle, in Paris, Jacques de Molay is put to the pyre, pronouncing a curse of Phillip le Bel. This makes Etienne the last Templar Grandmaster of the Temple.
At the sentencing of Jacques de Molay, he realises that in the time of Christ he was James the Elder brother of Jesus in Fifth Gospel. He remembers who he was in Atlantia.
During the trial Julian denounces the inquisition and the King publicly, and is assassinated, the woman who loved him Beatriz sees it and in her grief plans the destruction of the king and his counsellor.
In France the Templar Order is dissolved by the Pope and at Lockenhaus the Emperor's soldiers who have besieged the castle, find a into it through an escape tunnel in the well.
In France Beatriz poisons Nogaret and the King of France both die. The Pope also dies but not before remembering his karmic connection in Atlantia to the Templars he betrayed.
Before the last battle at Lockenhaus, Etienne goes down into the underground chapel. He realises his heart is failing and he must hide The Seal. But first he has a battle with a Brother of the Shadows (Atlantia) who is not incarnated but in spirit. Etienne wins the battle, cuts off the finger holding the ring Seal and manages to hide the secret. He dies before the Emperor's men enter the castle.
All Templars die in the battle above with the emperor’s men never knowing what has happened to Etienne below.