“Judgment Day” is the fifth book in the Templar Chronicles series. These really aren’t “standalone” stories, so you’ll want to start with the first one “The Heretic,” and read them in order.
Once I get hold of one of Nassise’s books, I can’t put it down. The main plot of the series is continuous through the books, though there are side adventures, minor villains and plot complications in each story.
The main story arc concerns Cade Williams, a Commander in the reactivated and well-armed Templar Knights special ops division, tasked by the Vatican with fighting supernatural threats. Except for one earlier character, Williams is unique in that he has supernatural gifts, and a compelling interest in destroying The Adversary, a fallen angel who disfigured Williams and may or may not have killed his wife.
Though the story arc is far from finished, and this fifth book ends with a tantalizing teaser for the sixth, it does have some measure of resolution.
The Templar Chronicles has strong plotting, lots of action, but very few fully-developed characters. “Judgment Day” does continue the welcome development of Cade’s primary ally Sergeant Riley, who really came into his own in Book Four: “Infernal Games.” The character of Cade Williams is driven by tremendous passion and suffering, a mixture of guilt and hunger for revenge, so much so that he nearly loses the reader’s sympathy as he goes along burning bridges, betraying friendships, using people and breaking laws right and left to achieve his end. He is on an all-consuming quest, and the cost to his position, friendships and very soul are the stuff of tragedy.
In “Judgment Day,” many questions are answered, origins are revealed, and The Adversary’s ultimate doomsday plan is exposed. Nassise has been building up for this showdown for the whole series, and he doesn’t disappoint.
One of my earlier complaints was that the Templar Knights, armed with the latest in military hardware, are ill-equipped to fight magical and supernatural beings. I’m reminded of John Carpenter’s “Vampires,” where the team fires countless bullets at the vampires, knowing they’ll have no effect. The Templar Knights are often overwhelmed and outclassed, even against hordes of zombies. Finally, in “Judgment Day,” Williams begins to learn to use his gifts/curse, and arms himself appropriately.
“Judgment Day” is good, solid, urban fantasy/action/horror. Personally, I’d welcome more exploration of the Catholic elements, which remain mostly just a convenient part of the background scenery. I can’t imagine that there wouldn’t be clergy of some kind overseeing the Order.
Nassise may not yet be on a par with the likes of Jim Butcher in terms of handling subplots and multiple supporting and minor characters, but Nassise is a talented writer, consistently penning thoroughly entertaining, emotionally charged and engaging action stories. The e-book version of “Judgment Day,” like the others in the series, could have benefited from one more proof, as there are minor but annoying typos in nearly every chapter.
Nassise has also written a couple of short stories that take place in the Templar Chronicles universe that are also well worth reading. He has a couple of other series running, including the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy, and the Great Undead War series.
CLICK HERE for a link to Joseph Nassise’s author page on Amazon.