Where other men blindly follow the truth,
remember nothing is true.
Where other men are limited by morality or law,
remember everything is permitted.
We work in the dark to serve the light.
We are assassins.
As I read Christie Golden’s Assassin’s Creed film tie in, I had thought my focus, as I wrote this review, would be on how it is one of the rare novelisations I’ve read that got it right. Except for The Mummy by Max Allan Collins, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a novelisation before. Hallowe’en, for example, turned Michael Myers into a possessed victim and the Gremlins, in their book, were turned into aliens.
By the end of this one, however, I found that I was so caught up in the amount of errors throughout the novel I couldn’t keep my mind on anything else.
For centuries, the Order of the Knights Templar have searched for the mythical Apple of Eden.
They believe it contains not only the seeds of man’s first disobedience, but the key to free will itself.
If they find the relic and decode its secrets, they will have the power to control all human thought.
Only a brotherhood called the Assassins stand in their way…
The story revolves around Callum Lynch, a man sentenced to death after murdering a pimp. He’s rescued and his execution is faked by the Abstergo Foundation, which transports him to their facility in Spain. There, Dr. Sophia Rikkin, a Templar scientist, enlists him in helping them find the whereabouts of the Apple, an ancient artefact that contains the genetic code for free will. Their method: inserting him into the Animas, a machine that allows him to live the memories of his assassin ancestor, Aguilar de Nehra, in 1492. Callum must choose whether he is on the side of the Templars, fighting to destroy the brotherhood, or if he is on the side of the Assassins, fighting in the dark to serve the light.
Golden’s novelisation stays loyal to the Justin Kurzel film (starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as Callum/Aguilar and Sophia) while still adding in the perfect amount of background information on the characters. Aguilar, for example, barely speaks in the film but a lot of the book is told from his perspective which means we get to find out what happened with his parents and why he hates Ojeda so much.
But, no matter how clever the story is, or how well written, the mistakes are so many that they take away from the brilliance of it. Between the constant misspelling of ‘Aguilar’ (how hard is it to put the letter ‘I’ in a name?), the missing words and the repeated words (“And, so far as anyone in the in the world knows or cares…” is still bugging me), I was constantly being pulled out of the world which ruined the book for me.
With Heresy, the ninth Assassin’s Creed book, this time penned by Golden instead of Oliver Bowden, set for UK release on April 6th, I think I’ll give Golden and her editors one last chance to get it right before giving up on the series. I suggest you read the Oliver Bowden series and cleanse your palette after this one, starting with Ezio Auditore de Firenze's story, Renaissance.