By Colum Blackett (Col_96) Assassin's Creed: Heresy by Christie Golden
I was lucky enough to get an early copy of Assassin's Creed: Heresy from Ubisoft. Special Thanks to Holly Rawlinson.
Full Spoilers for Assassin's Creed: Heresy.
An endless conflict. An old wrong. A new revelation.
Simon Hathaway, member of the Templar Inner Sanctum, brings a cool head and detached manner to his new role as Head of Abstergo Industry s Historical Research Division.
But Simon also has an insatiable curiosity, and is fascinated by the thought of experiencing history first-hand through his ancestor--Gabriel Laxart, who fought alongside the legendary Joan of Arc.
When he enters the newly-designed Animus for its initial project, Simon finds himself unprepared for what he discovers: How deep the conflict between the Templars and the Assassins goes. What Gabriel will do for the woman he both loves and reveres.
And the most dangerous truth of all: Who is the heretic and who is the true believer.
Assassin's Creed: Heresy focusses on Simon Hathaway, the new Head of Abstergo's Historical Research Division. Replacing the late Isabelle Ardant, Simon takes the department in a new direction.
Taking his place in the Inner Sanctum, Simon is given clearance by Alan Rikkin to use the new Animus, in a search for knowledge that will benefit the Templar Order.
Assassin's Creed: Heresy is extremely well written, uses an extreme amount of detail to set the scene. Although the book looks at the Historical aspects in great detail, it can sometimes become slightly confusing, as many names and characters hold similarities.
I really enjoyed the idea that the Animus could be used to find knowledge that could help the present day characters fix broken Pieces of Eden. Simon's proposal to Rikkin at the start gives us a fresh perspective of the many ways in which the Animus can be used. Recently, we have seen the same formula in Assassin's Creed games. Use the Animus to find a Piece of Eden. It was interesting to see a search for knowledge, rather than a search for another artefact.
I was especially impressed with the many links to the Assassin's Creed: Abstergo Employee's Handbook (also written by Christie Golden). To finally learn the truth about Robert Fraser, and the reasons for his termination was truly satisfying. Often I feel that Assassin's Creed leaves a lot of questions unanswered, so it was great to finally know the truth.
I also really liked the way Heresy made it clear of the date and location of each and every memory entered by Simon. Sometimes the jump between past and present can be confusing, in transmedia material such as the Titan Comics. Heresy made it very clear, helping the audience to understand where exactly we are focussing on. The fresh concept of an Assassin Queen was also a fantastic move for the franchise. Many times have we seen Templars in positions of power, so it was great to see an Assassin Mentor in such a high ranking position.
The references to the Isu Precursor Race were also very interesting. The return of Consus, and the Sword of Eden made this book almost feel like a sequel to the lore provided in Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy and Clay Kaczmarek's Animus Glypths. I really liked the way Heresy expanded on previous lore. It's very clear that everyone involved in the creation of this book put a lot of time and effort into avoiding lore inaccuracies and contradictions. The AC Team and Christie Golden did a great job with this book.
I highly recommend Assassin's Creed: Heresy, and rate it 4/5
Heresy gives us an updated list of members of the Inner Sanctum of the Templar Order (as of 2016. Right)
The Animus used by Abstergo in London is version 4.35. No Spinal Tap is required. (pg 29)
The Animus used by Abstergo in Seville (AC Movie) is version 4.3, and requires a Spinal Tap. (pg 30)
Simon moes into Isabelle Ardant's Office, as seen in Assassin's Creed Syndicate. (Image on slideshow below)
The Bleeding Effect apparently had a devestating effect of Subject 14. This is the first known reference to Subject 14. (Pg 24)
Simon is a Professor.
"Simon hid his annoyance. Although he was technically a professor, he found teaching frustrating" (Pg 25)
Simon is also a Master Templar. (Pg 27)
Warren Vidic is the decendant of Geoffroy Thérage, the executioner of Joan of Arc
Possible reference to the AC Movie: "It looks a bit like something the Inquisition might have used back in the day, doesn't it" (referring to the Animus 4.35) (Pg 28)
Joan of Arc could "Glow". Possibly because she had a high concentration of Precursor DNA.
"But she looked- like she was glowing." (pg 42) "It's not as if she's a Piece of Eden given human form" (pg 45)
Reference to the Titan Comics. "There was in fact, a Templar effort right this moment to track down one Charlotte de la Cruz, who is rumored to have merely a tiny bit of the precious DNA" (Pg 43)
Robert Fraser's fate revealed (AC Employee Handbook Researcher).
"His body was riddled with bullets, and he had died with his eyes and mouth open" (Pg 53)
Simon's Ancestor, Gabriel Laxart was trained by the Assassins.
"Simon felt physically ill. Gabriel Laxart - his own ancestor - was an Assassin? Impossible! Simon was a Master Templar, a member of the Inner Sanctum. (Pg 88)
Simon comes from a Templar family.
"More than that, he was what was called a "legacy." Both of his parents were Templars, and his Grandmother had been one as well, working quietly in the background of Winston Churchill's war office. There were several others sprinkled throughout his line" (Pg 88)
The first Sword of Eden is hidden behind an altar in Saint Catherine's Church. (Pg 97)
"We are to dig behind the altar," he said. "And there, we shall find a sword" Father Michel
Gabriel can sense the presence of the Sword of Eden. This ability to sense POE's is rare, and is an ability shared by the Assassin, Giovanni Borgia. This is likely due to a high concentration of Precursor DNA.
"He could..... there was no other word...... sense it" (Pg 98)
Piece of Eden 25 (Sword of Eden) is the same one that belonged to Jacques de Molay, Thomas Francois Germain and Arno Dorian! It is also the sword that Alan Rikkin has in his office. (Pg 99)
Simon believes that Joan of Arc possessed some of the highest percentages of Precursor DNA on record. He also believes that she was influenced by the Precursor Scientist known as Consus (Pg 118)
The Templars are using Pins to recognise each other as members of the Templar Order. (Similar to the Badge of Office used in Unity)
"There was no secret handshake, pr code word, or anything that Hollywood would salivate over between Templars. The only identifying item by which they would recognise one another was the pin, and was an utterly innocuous replica of it available in the local gift shop. The trained eye could spot a real pin from its counterfeit, but generally one could never tell who was a Templar and who wasn't at Abstergo unless one was specifically informed." (pg 123)
The Assassin Mentor was Queen Yolande of Aragon! (Revealed on Page 127)
Gabriel uses his Eagle Vision to discover that a camp follower (prostitute) also has traces of Precursor DNA in her blood. He also recognises that she too has the ability to use Eagle Vision. He brings her to Joan, who, after speaking to "the voices", accepts her. She is renamed as "Fleur" (Pg 150)
Simon begins to see strange symbols and messages in his sleep.
"The teardrop shaped-sun etched into the stone wall of Coudray dungeon" (Pg 163)
The "Voices" that talk to Joan correctly predict that she will be injured.
"Tomorrow, blood will leave my body...... here, perhaps, above my breast........" Joan is shot with an Arrow. (Pg 173)
Reference to Sofia Rikkin and the Animus project from the AC Movie.
"Rikkin stretched out his legs in the back seat of the Rolls, absently watching London zip past as he spoke on the phone with his daughter, Sofia, who was preparing for his arrival in Madrid in a few days." (Pg 183)
Victoria Bibeau's involvement in the Robert Fraser incident revealed:
Page 185 explains that she gave Fraser information that was then leaked to the Assassins. She did not know the goals of the Assassins or Templars at the time. Rikkin tells her that she was very close to being terminated, like Aidan St. Claire.
Joan had attempted to escape using a Leap of Faith from a tower, but was caught as she landed. This proves that the Assassins must have trained her. (pg 233)
Simon steals Alan Rikkin's Sword of Eden and Abstergo intellectual property, then escapes Abstergo by doing a leap of faith! (249)
(247) "You are in possession of Abstergo property. Hand it over and submit to judgement!"
Simon escapes Abstergo and sneaks into the Inner Sanctum Meeting!
Otso Berg defends Simon right to a fair hearing.
Simon discovers that the Sword of Eden needs another piece to work properly. He calls this "The Heart" (260)
Jacque de Molay had hidden the Heart in Coudray dungeon behind the symbols on the wall.
Joan had kept the "Heart" in a pouch around her neck, and it acted as a power source!
When Joan was burned, her executioner had thrown the "heart" into the river Seine.
Simon managed to find "The Heart" by sensing it's presence at the bottom of the river Seine!
By reuniting the Sword of Eden and "The Heart", the Sword once again works properly. Simon completely restores the Sword of Eden, and returns it to Alan Rikkin infront of the Inner Sanctum. (261)
Otso Berg calls for all charges against Simon Hathaway to be dropped! (261)
The Templars have a secret group called "Omega Team" standing by.
"I'm a Templar, we don't have Hobbies," but she revealed that she herself enjoyed pottery and running marathons. (Victoria. pg 24)
This Animus would not seat it's occupants. It would embrace them. (pg 29)
The Animus was not a time travel machine. He was a pasenger, not a pilot, and he, like Gabriel, was here to bear witness (63)
"That's because we're descended from beings that came before man ever walked this world. Powerful beings, with great abilities and skills." De Metz (96)
"These.... beings, the Ones Who Came Before - They left behind artifacts of great power. We call them Pieces of Eden, and both Assassins and Templars have been trying to find them since the dawn of time" De Metz (97)
"Our Brotherhood is not like the Templars. We value individuality, and do our own thinking" De Metz. (110)
Thin ice, Rikkin thought. One way or another, we're all skating on it. But the difference was, if Simon Hathaway fell through it, he wouldn't just drown. He'd be eaten alive by what lurked below. (119)
Well, well. An Assassin Mentor Queen, came Victoria's voice in Simon's ear. I believe that may be a first. (127)
"And for pity's sake Simon, be honest with me about how much you can handle. I can't have another Robert Fraser. I won't" (Victoria. Pg 165)
Hathaway had been spared the necessity of the more unsavory aspects of Templar business, happily ensconced in his ivory tower while others, such as Berg's Sigma team or even deeper, darker branches of the Templar Order, went about clearing the garden of the world from weeds like Assassins, and turncoats, and heretics who wanted to upend the Order. (pg 186)
A solid hand was needed to guide humanity. The hand of the Templar Order. (Rikkin's thoughts. 187)
Pieces of Eden were about power. The Precursors weren't exactly the nicest of beings, and most of what they had left behind were definitely weapons. (206)
"This is what the Templar Order should be!" Simon cried, joy and certainty surging through his blood. "A weapon when needed, and an inspiration at all times. A light for humanity when it needs it the most." Simon Hathaway (pg 261)