Étienne Joubert is a fourteenth-century Templar knight living in New York City, a man who has lost his faith even though his presence in the twenty-first century is surely a miracle. Still, he serves the faithful to the best of his abilities. When a young Catholic woman comes to him worried about her missing fiancé, he becomes entangled in the complicated turf wars of the gods.

“The Tale of the Nouveau Templar” was written for ReDeus: Divine Tales, edited by Robert Greenberger and Aaron Rosenberg. In this shared-world anthology, all the stories are set in a transformed modern world, following the return of every pantheon of gods and goddesses who have ever been worshipped. The neighborhoods of Manhattan have become a crazy quilt of religious affiliations, owing fealty to various deities with traditional roots in Africa, Rome, India, North America, and more. The excerpt below opens the story.

The Tale of the Nouveau Templar

Étienne Joubert frowned at the short man and the large Minotaur blocking the sidewalk. They had suddenly stepped in front of him on Mercer just as he crossed Spring Street on his way back to the Village. No matter how much the world changed, there were always people like this, people who didn’t like what you were doing and would threaten you to get their way. “Tough guys,” the Americans called them.
       Joubert took a moment to straighten his tunic, which bore the red cross of the Nouveau Templar on front and back, then said, “Let me pass.” His voice was graveled by years of yelling over the sounds of battle. Other pedestrians, previously enjoying the mild summer evening, averted their eyes as they quickly made their way to the far side of the street, dodging an electric car and a group of bicycles.
       “My friend here,” said the short man, as if Joubert had not spoken, “he doesn’t like problems. So . . . you gonna make him like you or not?” . . .

Cover and excerpt copyright Crazy 8 Press.
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