Jack Whyte was born and raised in Scotland, and educated in England and France. He migrated to Canada from the UK, in 1967, as a teacher of High School English, but he only taught for a year before starting to work as a professional singer, musician, actor and entertainer--a career he followed, one way and another and with many variations, for the next twenty years. In the early 1970s, Whyte researched, wrote, directed and appeared in a one man show based on the life and times of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet. He toured Canada with the presentation, which he had written to appeal to non-Scots, Canadian audiences, de-mystifying the poet and his works and making them understandable and enjoyable to North Americans. The success of the show led him into writing for CBC National television, and eventually to a career in advertising, where he learned his craft as Head Writer and Creative Director of several advertising agencies before moving to the other side of the client-agency relationship, to act as Corporate Communications Director for a number of public and private companies. Whyte's interest in 5th Century history and the 460-year Roman military occupation of Britain springs from his early Classical education in Scotland during the 1950s, and he has pursued his fascination with those times ever since. That interest, allied with an equally fervent preoccupation with the Arthurian legend, led him, in 1978, to a sudden realization of the probable truth underlying the legend's central mystery of the Sword in the Stone. Then, knowing how it had been done, Whyte set out to tell the story, and to establish King Arthur securely in a realistic and feasible historical context. His saga, fleshed out by years of research, continues to unfold to the delight of his large and growing audience. Whyte is married, with five adult children, and lives in British Columbia, Canada.
Whyte puts the Knights Templar to rest in the uninspired final volume of his Templar trilogy (after Knights of the Black and White and Standard of Honor), a lengthy and pedantic history of the Knights and their 200-year-old tradition of service to the pope and Christianity, loaded with historical detail, but offering little suspense and even less action. When the Knights are declared outlaws by King Philip IV of France in an effort to crush their influence and seize their treasure, the Knights are arrested and tortured or driven into hiding. Templar knight Sir William Sinclair leads the survivors to temporary sanctuary in Scotland, where they team up with Robert Bruce, king of the Scots, who is embroiled in civil war and war with the English. After a promising opening, the story downshifts into a narrative bog of plots, schemes, court intrigues and hand-wringing over the Templars' future, but very little actually happens. This tale has great potential for a rousing, sword-swinging adventure, but instead is just a plodding medieval history without any zip. (Aug.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.