Raymond Khoury - book author
Raymond Khoury is the author of five consecutive New York Times and #1 international bestsellers, starting with his debut novel, THE LAST TEMPLAR. His books have been translated into 38 languages, with over 10 million copies in print.
Raymond came to writing thrillers from a career in screenwriting, which including the BAFTA award winning BBC series SPOOKS (aka MI:5 in the US) and Waking The Dead. It partly explains why his novels are often described as cinematic and very visual. As fellow bestselling author Steve Berry puts it: "his expertly chosen verbs cause the scenes to leap from the page. You can literally feel the blows as they're landed; wince as the bullets find their marks. He has an intense brand of storytelling all his own."
THE LAST TEMPLAR began its journey to print as Raymond's third original screenplay, written for film in 1996. At the time, a book agent suggested turning it into a novel, and a major NY publisher, the first to read it, offered Raymond a huge advance for the as-yet-unwritten novel, with one condition: "Lose the religion. It's boring. Change the Templars' secret to gold, diamonds, a physical treasure." After much tortured consideration, Raymond turned the offer down, his first potential check from writing. Almost exactly ten years later, his novel, based on that screenplay--religion included--became a global bestseller, hitting #1 in multiple countries and getting adapted into an NBC miniseries.
Raymond's thrillers are based on big themes that interest him such as international politics and conspiracies, fact vs faith, why we age and die, what do we really know about reincarnation, about mind control. He explores these themes in depth, with heavy emphasis on research, and often combines a historical angle to his stories. As such, some of his novels (THE LAST TEMPLAR, THE SANCTUARY, THE TEMPLAR SALVATION, RASPUTIN'S SHADOW) feature dual timelines: the bulk of the stories are set in the present day, interspersed with chapters that take place in the distant past. As Booklist puts it, "Khoury's thrillers engage the reader's mind, even as they move at a breakneck pace. Readers who like their thrillers to have a solid intellectual component will enjoy Khoury's books very much. Given the high quality of each of his novels, it seems fair to say that he may be around for a while."
Raymond's 8th novel is an epic alternate history and time travel story that Publishers Weekly called "ingeniously inventive" and "a classic of the genre": It is already out in the UK as THE OTTOMAN SECRET, and is out on Oct 1 in the US under a different title, EMPIRE OF LIES.
To find out more about him and his work, visit his website at raymondkhoury.com or connect with him on his Facebook page or on Instagram (@author.raymond.khoury).
Raymond Khoury is the author of books: The Last Templar (Templar, #1), The Templar Salvation (Templar, #2), The Sanctuary, The Sign, The Devil's Elixir (Templar, #3), Rasputin's Shadow (Templar, #4), Shadow Tag, The End Game (Templar, #5), Empire of Lies, Pit Stop: Sean Reilly vs. Glen Garber
Pope Leo X, 16th Century
In a hail of fire and flashing sword, as the burning city of Acre falls from the hands of the West in 1291, The Last Templar opens with a young Templar knight, his mentor, and a handful of others escaping to the sea carrying a mysterious chest entrusted to them by the Order's dying Grand Master. The ship vanishes without a trace.
In present day Manhattan, four masked horsemen dressed as Templar Knights emerge from Central Park and ride up the Fifth Avenue steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the blacktie opening of a Treasures of the Vatican exhibit. Storming through the crowds, the horsemen brutally attack anyone standing between them and their prize. Attending the gala, archaeologist Tess Chaykin watches in silent terror as the leader of the horsemen hones in on one piece in particular, a strange geared device. He utters a few cryptic Latin words as he takes hold of it with reverence before leading the horsemen out and disappearing into the night.
In the aftermath, an FBI investigation is led by anti-terrorist specialist Sean Reilly. Soon, he and Tess are drawn into the dark, hidden history of the crusading Knights, plunging them into a deadly game of cat and mouse with ruthless killers as they race across three continents to recover the lost secret of the Templars.
With its iconic title and unmistakable cover, Raymond Khoury's million-copy- selling The Last Templar remains one of the most memorable thriller publications of the last decade. Finally, after four long years, Khoury returns to the world of the Templars with The Templar Salvation, a sequel that's every bit as eye-popping and as gripping as its predecessor.
Constantinople, 1203: As the rapacious armies of the Fourth Crusade lay siege to the city, a secretive band of Templars infiltrate the imperial library. Their target: a cache of documents that must not be allowed to fall into the hands of the Doge of Venice. They escape with three heavy chests, filled with explosive secrets that these men will not live long enough to learn.
Vatican City, present day: FBI agent Sean Reilly infiltrates the Pope's massive Vatican Secret Archives of the Inquisition. No one but the Pope's trusted secondi get in-but Reilly has earned the Vatican's trust, a trust he has no choice but to violate. His love, Tess Chaykin, has been kidnapped; the key to her freedom lays in this underground tomb, in the form of a document known as the Fondo Templari, a secret history of the infamous Templars...
With his trademark blend of incendiary history and edge-of-your-seat suspense, Raymond Khoury's The Templar Salvation marks a triumphant return to the rich territory that launched his bestselling career.
Baghdad, 2003. An army unit tracking Saddam’s cronies stages a spectacular raid on a fortified villa and makes a horrifying discovery in its basement: a state- of-the-art, concealed lab where dozens—men, women, children—have died, the subjects of gruesome experiments. The mysterious scientist they were after, a man believed to be working on a bioweapon and known only as the hakeem—the doctor—escapes, taking with him the startling truth about his work. In one of his victims’ cells, a puzzling clue is left behind: an Ouroboros – the tail devourer – a circular symbol of a snake that’s feeding on its own tail.
As the power of the symbol comes to light, revealing the centuries of mystery and pain left in its wake, one unsuspecting woman – Mia Bishop, a geneticist – stands at the center of a conspiracy that could change the world forever. From Baghdad to the chaos of a Beirut still reeling from a fresh war in the fall of 2006, to the lost villages of eastern Turkey and northern Iraq by way of epic chapters set in eighteenth century Europe, and in the masterful hands of international bestseller Raymond Khoury, The Sanctuary delivers the same rapid-fire suspense and provocative scholarship that made The Last Templar an international blockbuster.
Another cutting-edge thriller set at the intersection of science, religion, and history from the bestselling author of The Last TemplarIn Antarctica, a scientific expedition drops anchor for a live news feed. As the CNN journalist begins her report, a massive, shimmering sphere of light suddenly appears in the sky, enveloping the ship in luminous white light before disappearing as mysteriously as it arrived, the entire event witnessed by an incredulous world audience.
New York Times bestselling author Raymond Khoury, whose debut novel, The Last Templar, has sold more than a million copies in the United States, and whose second, The Sanctuary, was also a major national bestseller, returns with The Sign. Like the first two, this new thriller combines gripping contemporary suspense with a high-concept mystery rooted in history, philosophy, religion, and science. And like those novels, it is bound for bestseller lists nationwide.
Meanwhile in a dusty bar in Egypt, a dozen men are lazily discussing the state of the world when the brilliant, glowing symbol on the television stops them cold. One man breaks out in a sweat, crosses himself repeatedly, and rushes out of the bar muttering the same phrase over and over again: It can't be.
Across the Internet and around the globe, a stunning controversy threatens to consume the world: Has God finally decided to reveal himself? Or is something more sinister at hand?
Raymond Khoury/Steve Berry interview
STEVE BERRY: Your new thriller, THE SIGN. I'm gonna come right out and say it: I think it's your best one yet. What do you think?
RAMOND KHOURY: Tough call. It's my new baby, and much as I adore its elder siblings, it does have that newborn magic to it.
STEVE: Trust me, it is. It's also a bit of a departure from your first two books, in that it doesn't have the past-and-present storylines. Knowing how stories kind of take on a life of their own, that wasn't a conscious decision from the get-go, was it?
RAYMOND KHOURY: No, it wasn't premeditated. It's just the way the story came out. The whole story happens in the present. It takes place over a few manic days, I think you're familiar with that pacing, right? And it deals with the present, it's about a what if situation that's very today and now, there's a mystery, something to figure out, but there's no throwback to the past, no long lost secret to uncover.
STEVE BERRY: It's also very topical. Your editors must be pleased.
RAYMOND: I guess it happened that way because the story came out of some very strong feelings I had, feelings about what was going on around the world, in the US and abroad.
STEVE: Tell me about that process. Where the story came from.
RAYMOND: It's where they all come from, isn't it? That kernel, that one thought or one observation you have that just sticks and triggers a book, the one that bugs you late at night and that you can't shake. This one came to me while watching the news one day, and every item, one after another, it was all bad news. Not just bad, but it was like a lot of people were behaving so insanely in so many places around the world, and, sadly, a lot of it was fuelled by the manipulation or distortion of religious faith.
STEVE: By intolerance?
RAYMOND: Exactly. Intolerance and closed minds. And it got me thinking. About how divided we are, about how so many people all over the world believe in the absolute infallibility of their faith and how it rules every aspect of their lives, you know what I mean, we're right, everyone else is wrong, that medieval mindset and wondering if anything could ever unite the planet under a single faith.
STEVE: One global religion. RAYMOND: Well, imagine if something did happen that convinced everyone that what we had until now, all these different religions that have grown over the last few thousand years, what if something new came along that was so overwhelming that it was impossible to ignore? Would we listen? Would we drop our previous faiths and embrace it?
STEVE: But your book's about much more than that. Without wanting to give too much away, it's really a political thriller, isn't it?
RAYMOND: It's always so hard to talk about a book without giving too much away.
STEVE: It's the fine line we walk.
RAYMOND: True. But yes, you're right, it's really about the absolute power something like that would bring, and how it could be abused. Cause above all else, it's a thriller. There's got to be a brilliantly dastardly scheme, right?
STEVE: Always. And this one certainly is dastardly. One thing I've noticed, though, in all three of your books so far, they're all, essentially, about the big questions that face us: why we believe, whether or not we have to die. Religion, longevity, life and death, science vs. faith ... Big questions. And in this one, you revisit, though in a completely different way, the power of religion, the good it can bring as well as the bad, something that was also central to The Last Templar. Will this always be your signature genre, books that have a big, central theme at their core?
RAYMOND: You asked me earlier about where the story came from. For me, in order to get excited about a book, it has to have a big central theme about how we live at its heart, something I'm interested in exploring. It's got to be about something I care about deeply. That's what drives the story and the characters forward for me. That's what I hope makes the books stand out. That they're not just page-turners, which ain't easy in itself, but that they're also about something. I see it in your books too. A point of view about things, a passion for laying out interesting information about a topic that interests you. Michael Crichton used to do that very successfully. Dan Brown, of course, does it brilliantly. That's what makes the books worth writing, I think.
STEVE: And in reading the book, it's clear you still had tons of research to do, even though there isn't a historic mystery to unravel?
RAYMOND: Absolutely. Some of it was about history, the monasteries in Egypt, for one. Again, part of the story, organically. Had to be done, and we do love our history, don't we?
STEVE: Guilty as charged.
RAYMOND: But for this book, I didn't need to do that much of it's nothing like what you did for THE CHARLEMAGNE PURSUIT, for instance. Which I loved, by the way. Particularly since you beat me to using the Voynich Manuscript in a story!
STEVE: We do seem to be spookily in sync with our writing as further evidenced by THE SIGN's opening in Antarctica?
RAYMOND: I know!
STEVE: So tell me, Matt and Gracie. Are we going to see them again?
RAYMOND: I don't know. On the one hand, I envy your situation with Cotton Malone, you've got a solid anchor for your books, you're building this great world around him, his son and Stephanie and Henrik and Cassiopeia, who I hope we see again real soon, and it's meaty and it's epic and like the rest of your readers, I'm hooked and I want to know what they do next. You've got that, Lee Child has had it since day one with Reacher, Harlan Coben with Myron Bolitar, the list goes on. Great characters. I'd love to do that one day, but it has to feel right. I wasn't in that frame of mind in my first two books, certainly the world after the end of THE SANCTUARY would be a very different place from the world Mia started out in at the beginning of that book. Tess and Reilly, I could maybe bring back. A lot of fans have asked for that. But with THE SIGN, Iinitely think Matt and Gracie are characters that I could bring back. I'd like to put them through another wringer, and it feels like it would come naturally. But before I do that, I'm writing the next book which introduces a new lead character, so they'll be getting a bit of a breather.
STEVE: They sure can use it. Good luck with the book.
RAYMOND: Thank you.
What if there was a drug, previously lost to history in the jungles of Central America, capable of inducing an experience so momentous-and so unsettling-that it might shake the very foundations of Western civilization? What if powerful forces on both sides of the law got wind of that drug and launched a vicious, uncompromising pursuit to possess it?
In Raymond Khoury's million-copy-selling Templar novels, Reilly and Tess traveled the globe to unravel ancient mysteries with present-day ramifications. In The Devil's Elixir, they find themselves dragged into a race-against the clock, against a brutal drug kingpin known as "El Brujo"-the sorcerer-and even against government authorities-to merge two divergent trails, one several hundred years old, the other as current as a heartbeat, that could drag humanity to the brink of self- destruction.
Packed with the nonstop suspense and unexpected twists Raymond Khoury fans delight in, The Devil's Elixir is destined for bestseller lists everywhere.
On a cold, bleak day in 1916, all hell breaks loose in a mining pit in the Ural Mountains. Overcome by a strange paranoia, the miners attack one another, savagely and ferociously. Minutes later, two men—a horrified scientist and Grigory Rasputin, trusted confidant of the tsar—hit a detonator, blowing up the mine to conceal all evidence of the carnage.
In the present day, FBI agent Sean Reilly’s search for Reed Corrigan, the CIA mindcontrol spook who brainwashed Reilly’s son, takes a backseat to a new, disturbing case. A Russian embassy attaché seems to have committed suicide by jumping out of a fourth-floor window in Queens. The apartment’s owners, a retired physics teacher from Russia and his wife, have gone missing, and further investigation reveals that the former may not be who the FBI believe him to be.
Joined by Russian Federal Security Service agent Larisa Tchoumitcheva, Reilly’s investigation of the old man’s identity will uncover a desperate search for a small, mysterious device, with consequences that reach back in time and which, in the wrong hands, could have a devastating impact on the modern world.
Packed with the twists, intrigue, and excitement that Khoury’s many fans have come to expect, Rasputin’s Shadow will keep readers turning pages long into the night.
FBI Special Agent Reilly has an agenda of his own. For months he has sought the man who kidnapped and brainwashed his ten-year-old child. But that man is a ghost - a highly protected CIA official with no name and no identity. Reilly is going to have to break the law if he's going to bring him to justice.
As the stakes get higher, Reilly is framed for murder and now he has to work undercover to seek the truth and protect the family he loves. All the while, Reilly is being watched. He's getting too close to a secret that will shake the country to its core and a conspiracy that reaches up to the highest echelons of power.
A sweeping thriller in the tradition of The Man in the High Castle, Fatherland and Underground Airlines from New York Times bestselling author Raymond Khoury.
"The best what-if thriller for a long, long time -- makes you think, makes you sweat, and makes you choose, between what is and what might have been." --Lee Child
Istanbul, 1683: Mehmed IV, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, is preparing to lay siege to Vienna, capital of the Holy Roman Empire, when a mysterious visitor arrives in his bedroom--naked, covered in strange tattoos--to deliver a dangerous, world-changing message.
Paris, 2017: Ottoman flags have been flying over the great city for three hundred years, ever since its fall--along with all of Europe--to the empire's all-conquering army. Notre Dame has been renamed the Fatih Mosque. Public spaces are segregated by gender. And Kamal Arslan Agha, a feted officer in the sultan's secret police, is starting to question his orders.
Rumors of an impending war with the Christian Republic of America, attacks by violent extremists, and economic collapse have heightened surveillance and arrests across the empire. Tasked with surveying potential threats, Kamal has a heavy caseload--and conscience.
When a mysterious stranger--naked, covered in strange tattoos--appears on the banks of the Seine, Kamal is called in to investigate. But what he discovers is a secret buried in the empire's past, a secret the Sultan will do anything to silence.
With the mysterious Z Protectorate one step behind, Kamal, together with Nisreen--a fierce human rights lawyer--is caught up in a race across the empire and time itself--a race that could change their world, or destroy it.