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Literature / Shadow of the Templar

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A brilliant young FBI agent. An unpredictable international art thief. What happens next is quite possibly not what you'd expect.

Shadow of the Templar is a 4-novel webseries about Simon Drake, an esteemed FBI agent, and his special ops team of highly talented but semi-crazy people. Together, they fight crime. When they're not pulling pranks on each other or spewing Double Entendres left and right, that is.

It is also about what happens after one particular case causes Simon's path to intersect with that of Jeremy Archer, a professional thief wanted on almost every continent for hundreds of thefts. No one has managed to catch him yet, and Simon is determined to be the one who does.

Things get a tad more complicated when Simon and Jeremy discover that they'd like to know each other better in that way. With some cooperation and luck, the FBI agent and the thief might just be able to form something approaching a semi-functional relationship. If the avenging criminals hounding them and their incompetence at anything resembling emotional intimacy don't do them in, that is.

Half caper story, half unlikely romance, the series does a fine job of balancing both elements and making them come together in unexpected ways. Follow this link to read the novels in all their glory.

Now has a character page that's desperately in need of some love.

For the computer game with this subtitle, see Broken Sword.

The series contains the following tropes:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: Dave, when he finally breaks into Rich's computers. It was a task originally given to him to get him out of the way while Team Templar tracked down Farraday, and nobody bothered to tell him either that was it was considered impossible or to stop.
  • Action Girl: Sandra.
  • Addiction Displacement: The reason for Johnny's toothpicks.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Jeremy admiring Nate's explosive skills on several occasions.
  • Affably Evil: Jeremy falls here due to his line of work.
  • All a Part of the Job: Both Team Templar and Jeremy alike.
  • Always Someone Better: Jeremy to Bran.
  • Annoying Patient: In With A Bullet, a severely injured Simon is rude and obnoxious to Sandra and Jeremy when they try to help him, insisting that he doesn't need to be treated like an invalid even when he can barely stand up. After breaking his leg while chasing down Farraday before the novels begin, Simon also nearly concussed Johnny by throwing a mug at his head. The team has never let him forget it.
  • Apologises a Lot: Nate. Oh Nate.
  • Backstory: All characters have them. Some are given to us in the main story, some through short side-stories and some by Word of God.
    • Simon lost his mother and has terrible relationship with his father.
    • Jeremy was a child prostitute until he was taken in by Ethan.
    • Sandra comes from a very rich family. She tried to appease them by doing traditionally feminine things but snapped in college and went to do her own thing.
    • Mike comes from a Japanese/Hispanic family with many sisters, a strict father and a passionate loving mother.
    • Johnny was a cop, until he helped capture criminals in his own ranks and then left for the FBI.
    • Nate designed computer hardware for the firm he worked at, but they didn't pay him, and he had to sue them and after that got recruited by Simon.
    • Rich was part of a hacker group in his college. The group got caught by FBI, but Rich miraculously was neither caught nor implicated. Then he decided to join FBI for more opportunities to do vaguely legal computer tricks and befriended Simon in the academy.
    • Dave went into law enforcement because when he was 14, his sister was murdered, and he swore to keep other people from having to go through that.
  • Backstory of the Day: Jeremy telling the team about his connection to Bran in Double Down.
  • Badass Boast: "I am a thief. In fact, I'm the best thief in the world."
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: At the climax of the third book, Simon has lost his gun and the unstable criminal Farraday has a gun aimed right at his head. There's a gunshot and Simon believes he's a dead man. Then he notices that Farraday has just had his brains blown out. And that Jeremy is holding Simon's gun...
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Just because Simon and Jeremy have sex doesn't mean that they're any good at acknowledging that there's more between them than sexual attraction. Jeremy, accustomed to concealing his emotions due to his line of work, has trouble expressing his feelings for Simon in any way other than his typical Tease routine. Even then, he's better than Simon who remains in utter denial about caring for Jeremy in the slightest or the hints Jeremy manages to show about his feelings until his epiphany near the end.
  • Berserk Button: If you are not part of Simon's team, then you had best not insult anyone on Simon's team. Don't hurt anyone on Simon's team. Don't accuse anyone on Simon's team of being a traitor. Not even if you are correct. You know what, why don't you just leave Simon's team the hell alone.
    • For Bran, Jeremy's presence is enough to make him fly into a rage. And don't call him Jeremy's brother.
    • Jeremy is also Rich's Berserk Button. And for more than just being a criminal who outsmarted them.
  • Beta Couple: Mike and Sandra are this to the main Official Couple Simon and Jeremy, although things didn't exactly go more smoothly for them.
  • Big Applesauce: The setting for the climax of Double Down.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Mike, one of the team's big lifters and the loudest by a mile, especially when compared to the equally strong but more reserved Johnny.
  • Break the Cutie: Farraday's attack on Nate. Three years later and Nate is still terrified.
  • British Stuffiness: Jeremy has a bit of this going on, though it isn't his main trait.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Everyone on Team Templar, full stop.
  • Cain and Abel: Bran, Jeremy's foster brother, hates him for being a better thief than him and "stealing" his (perceived) rightful place as his father's favorite. Unlike Jeremy, Bran is perfectly willing to kill if his plans go wrong and comes across as dangerously unstable at times. It's also strongly implied that they were in a quasi-incestuous relationship at one point.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Rupp can be seen as one.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Simon and Jeremy, despite spending years in an exclusive Secret Relationship and risking their lives for each other multiple times, are apparently incapable of expressing their feelings for each other. Jeremy just acts like a tease, and Simon hesitates to even think of Jeremy as his friend.
    • To be fair, Jeremy does pretty much outright tell Simon that he's quite fond of him and, on one occasion, that he was actually pretty worried about him. Simon just scoffs at it and tells Jeremy that that's bullshit. So Jeremy just smiles.
  • Character Development: It takes time, but Simon becomes able to realize his feelings. And while he doesn't change much, Bran is able to help Jeremy in High Fidelity.
  • Character Tics: Jeremy has several: his little smile, the twitch in his right eyelid, the way he splays his hand on Simon's chest and when he sits down, he brings his knee up to his chest and hugs it. Rich tends to furiously clean his glasses when infuriated and Nate blushes at everything and cleans his tool closet. Johnny always munches on a toothpick and Simon puts his hand over his eyes when aggravated. Sandra ruins her manicure or "dry-washes" her hands when she needs something to do with her hands.
  • Characterization Marches On: Morning Star suffers from this slightly. It gets ironed out by the end of the first section.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: In Double Down, a fed-up Simon asks Jeremy, "What do you want from me?" Jeremy asks him if he really wants the answer for it, because he'll give it if he does. Simon answers with "not now, but maybe one day when this is all finished." Then it gets forgotten, until the last moment of the last book.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The fake bullets and Zip drive from the second book.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Simon teaching Jeremy how to handle a gun in the third book.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: Averted. While there's a metric ton of friction and resentment, neither side is portrayed as being any better or worse than the other.
  • Collector of the Strange: Dave and his unbelievably fugly vintage Hawaiian shirts.
  • Commonality Connection: Simon and Jeremy: "Because we're both very good at what we do."
  • Compliment Fishing: Simon undergoes such a fishing expedition at the end of Book 4. It doesn't go exactly as planned.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: Jeremy. Bran...not so much.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Simon shows serious shades of this in Chapter 10.5 of Double Down when he takes out his jealousy of Jeremy's ex-boyfriend on Jeremy. It's not played for laughs.
  • Cultural Rebel: Despite being British, Jeremy's never watched Monty Python.
  • Dating Catwoman
  • Dissonant Serenity: Jeremy slips into this at times.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Injured Simon does not take the needed care from others well.
  • Double Caper: The main plot of the first book, The Morning Star.
  • Drama Queen: Simon often accuses Jeremy of this.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Mike. Nate, too, though he's of the Captain Crash variety.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the shit that Jeremy and Simon go through, in the end, they do stay together in a monogamous, mutually-satisfying relationship with their own quirky brand of love for the rest of their lives, according to Word of God.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Jeremy's real name Jeremiah Harbottle is so well hidden that when Simon jokingly calls him Jeremiah, it wields some interesting results. Although it may not be embarrassment as much as the unpleasant memories of his childhood.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Simon's middle name is "Fordwith", but he'll never admit to it.
  • Faking the Dead: This is Jeremy's plan to get Karpol off of Bran's back. And his own, too, though he neglects to tell Team Templar this, leading to him inadvertently faking Simon out, too.
  • Fell Off the Back of a Truck: Invoked word-for-word in High Fidelity, after Jeremy steals enough explosives that the Italian government thinks the culprits were terrorists.
    Simon: Gosh, Specs, those wouldn't be illegal explosives, would they?
    Nate: Oh, no, never in a million years. I hear they fell off the back of a truck.
    Simon: Which is truly the hallmark of legality.
  • Femme Fatale: Diana Fontaine to Mike.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Used by Simon on Farraday in their final confrontation. At least he tried to..
  • Forgets to Eat: Daaaaaave.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Simon beating the shit out of Jeremy and then having a highly dub-con sex with him. Also, the team never passes up an opportunity to remind everyone of Simon throwing a mug at Johnny and nearly giving him a concussion.
  • Friendly Enemy: The basic premise of the books.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Rich can be seen as one.
  • Gentleman Thief: Jeremy steals because "nothing is more fun than doing that at which you excel" and he's a decent and likable guy otherwise. He even works as a freelance advisor to Simon's team when they need to stop more dangerous criminals.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Jeremy's goggles are a marvel of technology.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: For someone who claims that his relationship with Jeremy is just sex and that there's no emotional attachment at all, Simon gets mightily pissed off and bitter when he figures out that the thief they're chasing in Double Down is Jeremy's ex-boyfriend and brother and rival, and he takes Jeremy's proclamation to Bran ("I loved you.") like a punch to the gut. Even after the second novel, Bran remains a sore spot with him in general. Simon is also temporarily jealous of Annabelle, though that's shut down before it has much of a chance to go anywhere when Jeremy assures him that there was never anything between them. Not that Simon cared.
    • Sandra shows shades of this with Mike and Diana Fontaine.
  • Graceful in Their Element: Both Dave and Nate are awkward in normal life, but once they get behind computers, they're amazing. Nate's also incredible when it comes to explosives, which tends to make Simon a bit nervous.
  • Grew a Spine: Dave was given this advice by Jeremy. He took it.
  • Grudging "Thank You": Jeremy gets one from Simon in With a Bullet after he rightfully explodes at him for being a jerk.
  • Handsome Lech: Mike continually makes perverted jokes, hits on Sandra, and cracks many a gay joke with Simon (blissfully unaware of Simon's true leanings).
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Bran, dear God. If nothing else, he can be trusted to find something to get angry over within five sentences of a conversation.
  • Hands-On Approach: Jeremy doesn't mind at all when Simon adjusts his posture for him during gun training.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Variant: Jeremy only calls Simon his 'friend' in the third book, but even that's too much for Simon:
    "Okay, let's get this straight: you? Are not my friend. You're just this guy."
    • Later on, Simon does give a vague "maybe" instead of a flat-out "no" when Farraday asks him if Jeremy is his boyfriend, but he insists to Jeremy afterwards that he only said it to rile him up. Jeremy just smiles.
    • Later later on, Ethan asks Simon exactly what Jeremy means to him. The most he can come up with is an awkward admission that he likes the man. But some of his real feelings show through, enough for Ethan to send him to Jeremy, anyway.
  • Heroic BSoD: Jeremy gets one after he's forced to kill for the first time to save Simon's life. Fortunately, Simon's able to talk him out of it.
    • Simon himself gets one when he shoots and kills Rich. It leads to Jeremy taking him on a road trip to New York City.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: Once he has time to process it, this is essentially Simon's reaction to Jeremy's (apparent) death, and he starts slipping into a full-on Heroic BSoD while driving back to confirm that Jeremy is dead. Luckily, it switches off once he discovers that Jeremy is, in fact, alive. Jeremy, on the other hand, is still in this mode when Simon finds him.
  • The Hilarious Table: Given the fact the books are heavily banter-based, it happens most of the time, most notably at the table in the Templar saferoom.
  • Hot-Blooded: Simon and Mike can both be quite terrible.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: It is said Simon used to be one.
  • How Did You Know? I Didn't: In High Fidelity, after spying on Jeremy's deal with Bran, Simon asks Jeremy how Jeremy had been sure that Bran had been bluffing about demanding a blowjob at gunpoint.
    Simon: How'd you know he wasn't serious about it?
    Jeremy: About what?
    Simon: About blowing him. How'd you know he didn't mean it?
    [after a short pause]
    Simon: You didn't know, did you.
    Jeremy: [...] I suppose you could say that I didn't know for certain—but I hoped.
  • I Can Still Fight!: Simon in WaB insists on this, thus infuriating everyone around him, since he clearly can't.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Jeremy does to Sandra.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Claude, the owner of the restaurant Jeremy takes Sandy to in WaB is actually an old friend of his mentor's. It seems like Jeremy did a job for him at some point, as well, but we haven't heard the story behind that.
  • Insists on Paying: Jeremy always insists on paying every time and the others usually let him.
  • Insufferable Genius: Rich. Simon lampshades it.
    Simon: [Rich is] a fucking genius, too, and if I hadn't told you he'd have found a way to let you know.
  • In Harm's Way: Most of the characters feel this way.
  • Implied Answer: Sandra gets some from Jeremy at in their conversation about Simon in the beginning of Book 3.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: As far as Simon is concerned, Jeremy is.
  • Ironic Echo: Simon's insistence that Jeremy is "just this guy" to him is thrown back in his face by Jeremy when he gets fed up with Simon's appearance of apathy after a very harrowing and dangerous mission, and walks away.
  • I Think I Broke Him: Nate's reaction to Dave's antics with the chair that Nate glued to the floor and partially unscrewed.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Jeremy has done this from time to time. He also theorizes that Bran did it to infiltrate one of his most recent marks.
  • Jerkass: Rich again.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Simon cares very much for his teammates and Jeremy; he just lacks the tact and sensitivity that would be useful for apologizing properly and knowing when he's only making people even madder. It doesn't help that, at least when it comes to Jeremy, he's kind of ridiculously Tsundere.
  • Jewish and Nerdy: Nate, oh Nate.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Oh, hell yes, between the FBI and the CIA.
  • Killed Off for Real: Rich, after his undercover work for Karpol is exposed.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Ethan has a very impressive gym at his mansion and still works out even at his age. Jeremy is shown to bring training equipment with him during travels.
  • Knuckle Cracking: Mike does one in Morning Star to show Jeremy how "invited" he in in the saferoom.
  • Last Kiss: Jeremy gives one to an oblivious Simon in High Fidelity just before putting the master plan into motion; Jeremy was very aware of the fact that his chances of surviving the night were 50/50. Ultimately, this trope is averted, though it doesn't appear that way at first.
  • Lovable Nerd: Nate and Dave.
  • Love Epiphany: Well, if not love, Simon at least finally figures out that Jeremy is, in fact, more than "just this guy" to him after watching Jeremy (apparently) die, spending a few hours genuinely believing that Jeremy was dead, and then having Jeremy get fed up with his bullshit and actually walk away.
  • Married to the Job: Simon repeatedly tells Jeremy that his job is more important than him. In the end, his job is still important to him, but he seems to have finally accepted Jeremy as an integral part of his life too.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Simon asks about the copy-cat thief in Double Down, paraphrased, "What is this guy, your rival? Your brother? Your ex?" Jeremy is at first reluctant, but later answers, to an unspecified one of the three, "Yes." Simon is understandably irritated. Ultimately, the answer is 'all three'.
  • The Mole: Rich, revealed to have been sending (or forced to send) sensitive information about the rest of the team to Karpol.
  • Moment Killer: Mike interrupts an intimate moment between Simon and Jeremy in the fourth book, just when it looks like Jeremy is about to say something heartfelt.
  • Must Have Caffeine: The coffee machine at Simon's workplace is labeled "Mrs. Simon Drake (<3)."
  • Must Make Amends: Both Simon and Johnny feel this way about what Faraday did to Nate, although he keeps telling them it wasn't their fault.
  • Nerd Glasses: Both Nate and Rich wear a pair. Bonus points for Rich's Opaque Nerd Glasses.
  • No Bisexuals: Completely averted. Although it's still a belief in-universe.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Bran and Jeremy are foster brothers—well, Jeremy calls Bran his brother; Bran denies it vehemently—and they were in a sexual relationship at one point.
  • Not Me This Time: At the beginning of Double Down, Team Templar's trying to track a thief whose style is very similar to Jeremy. Though he's initially a suspect, they eventually come to this conclusion when they realize he was stealing something else at the time of one of the robberies. The fact that a man was murdered at the scene is what initially makes them doubt it as well.
  • One Head Taller: Simon is five inches taller than Jeremy, though they don't accurately fit the Seme/Uke mold.
  • Only Sane Agent: Sandra. Simon, too, although he's not immune to occasionally going off the rails himself.
  • Only Sane Employee: As the leader of a team of lunatics, this is essentially Simon's job description.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Jeremy, to the point that Simon even notes that Jeremy having a slight smile is basically the same as having no expression at all.
  • Preemptive "Shut Up": Mike gets this from pretty much everyone, but usually Sandra, because they know what's coming.
  • Prison Rape: Simon taunts Faraday with this threat in With A Bullet.
    • He also essentially threatens Jeremy with it in The Morning Star when Jeremy is caught red-handed with the titular diamond. Jeremy responds by telling Simon that he's been there, done that, and really, it's not that bad.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: In High Fidelity, Simon and Sandra—but especially Sandra—seem to find nothing wrong with spelling out to Jeremy just how much he'll regret it if anything happens to the team. Because it's totally understandable and rational to threaten someone with death and/or arrest when the only reason anyone is there at all is because they chose to be. Jeremy certainly didn't ask for them to put themselves in harm's way to help him until each and every one of them showed up and essentially forced themselves on him, and he made it very clear that he didn't want them there at all. But no, despite all of this, despite the fact that the only reason Jeremy is in this position is because of Rich and Simon, and despite the fact that Jeremy gives them multiple chances to back out with no hard feelings, despite the fact that Jeremy laid out the entire plan and they all agreed to it, it will totally be Jeremy's fault if they get hurt. For someone who was so hellbent on taking responsibility for his actions, Simon doesn't seem willing to accept the fact that if his team gets hurt, it would be because of his own refusal to put their safety above his own desires and leave. The logic essentially boils down to, "We're all going to help whether you like it or not, and we're not going to take you up on any offers to leave, so you might as well put us to use — oh, and if any of us get hurt, we'll kill you."
  • Pungeon Master: There is some stiff competition in Team Templar, but this title would have to go to Mike - if there is a potential Double Entendre to be found in anything said by anyone ever, he will see it, find it, and leap on it with his dick glee.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: With the exception of Sandra, Simon's team members are people who either have personality quirks that would have them killed or fired in any capacity other than working for the FBI or used to deal in less-than-scrupulous matters thanks to their talents, or both.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Jeremy in The Morning Star and Double Down. It's inverted in High Fidelity, wherein the criminal recruits the good guys.
  • Replacement Scrappy: In-universe example. Dave is caught in the unenviable position of trying to fill the shoes of a longtime member and being the perfect target for a slew of pranks. He rescues himself from the team's Scrappy heap when he grows a backbone and pulls a revenge prank on the other team members, earning him an official codename.
  • Secret Relationship: Although it's not so secret anymore by the end of High Fidelity.
  • Shout-Out: Simon's codename is a lampshaded reference to the Saint. "Jeremy Archer" is, according to Word of God, a reference to author Jeffrey Archer.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Mike and Sandra in the third book, with a heavy dose of Green-Eyed Epiphany for the latter.
  • Snipe Hunt: Dave is sent on one of these when he's first placed on the team. Team Templar wants him as out of the way as possible, so they order him to break into Rich's computers. Of course, nobody bothers to tell him it's a Snipe Hunt.
  • Stepford Smiler: Jeremy, mostly when Bran's in the picture or Simon's being particularly vicious.
  • Team Chef: Mike, who weakly insists that he only learned to cook because he lives alone.
  • Team Dad: Simon. It's even lampshaded!
  • The Faceless: Upstairs. Subverted in High Fidelity where he finaly appears and we even find out his name is Carstairs.
  • Tracking Device: Simon loves sticking these on Jeremy at every opportunity. And once uses it to his advantage by...well, not directly putting Jeremy in danger, but making sure he could take advantage of it if something happened.
  • Tranquil Fury: Sandra, a lot of the time, and most of the team is wary of it. And as it turns out, when he finally loses his temper, Jeremy is just as scary (if not more so) and perfectly capable of matching her glare-for-glare without backing down an inch. Everyone else is smart enough to stay quiet and make no sudden movements.
  • True Companions: Team Templar. Simon does it a lot, too, most notably near the end of With a Bullet.
  • Tsundere: Simon, a textbook Type A. "Hot and cold" doesn't begin to cover it.
  • Twitchy Eye: Jeremy gets this when he lies or becomes very agitated, which, naturally, Simon uses to his advantage when he figures it out.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: All of Simon and Jeremy's plans are outlined to some extent in the text, but the two most thoroughly detailed ones (the plan to trap Bran and the one to get Karpol off Jeremy's back inevitably have one overlooked detail that screws up, or almost screws them up.
  • Working with the Ex: Sandra and Simon used to be an item, though that's long since over and water under the bridge by the time the novels begin. In High Fidelity, there's Jeremy and Bran, though their "working relationship" isn't quite as stable.
  • You Just Told Me: Sandra develops a strong suspicion about Simon and Jeremy, and finally confirms it when she accuses Simon of "thinking with [his] dick" in wanting to help Jeremy and Simon asks her how long she's known about them in response.