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The Brethren is in many respects his most daring book yet. The novel grows from two separate subplots. In the first, three imprisoned ex-judges (the "brethren" in the title), frustrated by their loss of power and influence, concoct an elaborate blackmail scheme that preys on wealthy, closeted gay men. The second story traces the rise of presidential candidate Aaron Lake, a puppet essentially created by CIA director Teddy Maynard to fulfill 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 a 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 toward 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 your reading light turned on late. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Great writing...one of Grisham's best. Storyline is interesting and stimulating with lots of twists. Highly recommend it.Published 1 month ago by callie
This is a story with an interesting and not too implausible premise. I enjoyed it. I suppose repurposing your life is important while imprisoned and the Brethren made it work... Read morePublished 1 month ago by nsquared
It has the Grisham cynicism, but not the tightest plotting. One character (Ned) shows up for a few pages, is situated to be a major plot point, and disappears without a trace.Published 1 month ago by Joe Gaspard
I am a fan of the author and have read many of his books. I would recommend Grisham to any reader who enjoys law based stories .Published 1 month ago by Rhonda Harris
I did not think it was as good as most of John Grisham's books are but it was still very good.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer