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The Brethren Paperback – 26 May 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (26 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099537052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099537052
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

John Grisham's novels have all been so systematically successful that it is easy to forget he is just one man toiling away silently with a pen, experimenting and improving with each book. While not as gifted a prose stylist as Scott Turow, Grisham is among the best plotters in the thriller business and he infuses his books with a moral valence and creative vision that set them apart from their peers.

The Brethren is in many respects his most daring and accomplished book yet. The novel grows from two separate subplots. In the first, three imprisoned ex-judges (the "brethren" of the title), frustrated by their loss of power and influence, concoct an elaborate blackmail scheme preying on wealthy closeted gay men. The second story traces the rise of presidential candidate Aaron Lake, a man essentially created by CIA directory Teddy Maynard to fulfil Maynard's plans for restoring the power of his beleaguered agency.

Grisham's tight control of the two meandering threads leaves the reader guessing through most of the opening chapters how and when these two worlds will collide. Also impressive is Grisham's careful portraiture. Justice Hatlee Beech in particular is a fascinating, tragic anti-hero: a millionaire judge with an appointment for life who was rendered divorced, bankrupt and friendless after his conviction for drunk-driving homicide.

The book's cynical view of Presidential politics and criminal justice casts a somewhat gloomy shadow over the tale. CIA director Teddy Maynard is an all powerful demon with absolute knowledge and control of the public will and public funds. Even his candidate, Congressman Lake, is a pawn in Maynard's egomaniacal game of ad campaigns, illicit contributions and international intrigue. In the end, The Brethren marks a transition in Grisham's career towards a more thoughtful narrative style with less interest in the big-payoff blockbuster ending. But that's not to say that the last 50 pages won't keep you reading late into the early hours.--Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Grisham spins out a compelling, beautifully written thriller... it's all absolutely brilliant" (Independent on Sunday)

"An engaging and fast-paced story of powerful men in high places and blackmail gone awry, it will hook you from the first page and won't let go" (New York Post)

"Completely gripping" (Mirror)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
Having read all the John Grisham novels published to date, I bought The Brethren on a Saturday afternoon, when I got home I started to read it and couldn't put it down until I had finished early on Sunday morning. Two seperate stories that intertwine and come together, to create a story that holds you captivated until the final page. All his books are good but I think this is his best yet, I highly recommend it, if you like legal and political thriller you will not be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Sept. 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This isn't the first Grisham novel I've read so I think it's safe to say that this is book somewhat unlike his others. Here, Grisham provides a real page turner that keeps the suspense going until the very last page. The characters in the novel are entirely believable from a bumbling and incompetent lawyer to the trio of clapped-out judges who share centre stage in the story (at times, caricatures of themselves). As usual Grisham takes time in developing the characters and presents each of them in a distinctly coherent way.
I'd truly hate to give the game away but, in short, with a subtle twist near the end of the story you'd be a fool to miss it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By amtorralbo@recol.es on 7 July 2000
Format: Hardcover
I confess that after the fiasco of "The Testament" and the semi-fiasco of "The Street Lawyer" I started to read "The Brethem" (Translated in Spanish as: "La Hermandad") somewhat worried. Many of the comments recorded in Amazon (this page) were not helping very much.
This initial reluctance turned soon into a deep interest in the history. The once intimidating 500 pages hardback novel became a page-turning affair. After ending the book, I started to wonder how John Grisham may invent these amazing, terrific histories. I think it's a very good modern novel in the track of "The Firm" or "The Pelican brief"; very appealing, although not perfect.
Considering again the large amount opinions about this book listed in Amazon (see below), I think readers could be divided into two broad families: people loving this book or people almost hating it. I am very involved on elucidate the reasons of such big differences in opinion about last Grisham book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stefan VINE VOICE on 4 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
I first read this novel when it was published in 2000. It was the first novel by Grisham that I ever read, and it set me on a two-month-long Grisham-marathon. There are basically two main storylines that run concurrently: that of the Brethren at Trumble, and Aaron Lake's presidential primary campaign. It's not stated how they connect, but one quickly figures it out (otherwise, there would clearly be no point in having them both in the same novel).

It's pre-9/11, and the Cold War is still on people's minds, not to mention the fear of a renewed war - cold or otherwise - with a frustrated Russia. This is the nightmare scenario CIA chief Teddy Maynard is trying to push into the American consciousness. Maynard wants a pliable president, one with the CIA and defence department's interests at heart. Aaron Lake is the perfect candidate - squeaky clean, respected but not flashy, and a work horse on Congressional defence committees. The political side of this novel could be characterised as the military-industrial-complex meets Wag the Dog - a distillation of everything conspiracy theorists (and, increasingly, more-sane citizens) worry about the American democratic process - that is, secret moneyed interests in the defence industry buying the election for a candidate who sells his soul for cash and political fame. Only, it's also as if the conspiracies about the military-industrial-complex are not only real, but they're not big enough - the CIA is trying to pick a president, and they'll engineer international events to prove him a foreign policy visionary, and in the end scare the American public into voting for him, in return getting their increased defence budgets and an eternal state of readiness.

Maynard is wonderfully Machiavellian.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By beverley.spinner@btinternet.com on 3 April 2000
Format: Hardcover
The header of this page stated that it is hard to believe that it is just John Grisham toiling away and producing these novels at speed. Personally, I would rather be patient and have a quality novel every few years. The Brethren basically limps from page to page with the dull tale of three judges running a scam in prison and of a golden boy plucked to become President so long as he toes the line of the shadowed manipulators, who will create war to get him there. Grisham's books always provide a character you are rooting for and who welcomes you back each time you pick it up. This book lacks the character and also the convinction to at least finish with sparkle. The end is a real disappointment. I only hope Grisham just needs a holiday to revitalise his creative brain-cells.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
This isn't Grisham writing with passion; he's filling his time before embarking on another, better, idea, it seems. Having said that though, the premise of the story is an interesting one and, while the tale gets lost as the author indulges himself in his knowledge of Presidential primaries (and judging from the 2004 race Grisham does know of what he speaks), there are just enough confrontations and discoveries to keep a Grisham fan turning the pages until the - disappointing - end.
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