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The Brethren by John Grisham
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The Brethren (original 2000; edition 2005)

by John Grisham

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Member:denverbennett
Title:The Brethren
Authors:John Grisham
Info:Delta (2005), Audio Cassette, 384 pages
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Rating:****
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The Brethren by John Grisham (2000)

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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Pretty far fetched, even by Grisham standards. The actions of the CIA seem so improbable and illogical. Character developement weaker than usual. ( )
  michdubb | Jan 4, 2014 |
Meh. I think I'm over Grisham. I liked several of his books, but once you've read a bunch of them, they're kind of all the same thing. Also, he tries to incorporate an element of international espionage/intrigue into this one, and it comes off as rather amateur. I don't think that's his forte. Domestic courtroom dramas he's great at. ( )
  aketzle | Dec 22, 2013 |
Grisham has to be one of the most cynical authors writing legal fiction today. Everyone is corrupt, thinking only of himself, and money rules.

The "Brethren" are three ex-judges who have been incarcerated in a minimum security federal prison for a variety of avaricious crimes. While in prison, they procure the services of Trevor, a greedy little lawyer who agrees to act as the go-between in a dirty scheme to extort money from gay men who are fearful of being outed. Trevor bribes the prison guards to look the other way while he "smuggles" in forbidden documents and deposits their ill-begotten proceeds in an off-shore bank account. It's all very sordid.

A subplot, that becomes mixed with the affairs of the Brethren concerns Teddy Maynard, director of the CIA, who, appalled by the fall of communism and the concomitant reduction in military spending, conspires to find a candidate of suitable malleability, whom he can groom to be the next president. Aaron Lake, handsome, widowed, a light drinker, with no political baggage, seems the perfect choice. Just to be on the safe side, though, Maynard has Lake followed everywhere. By instigating terrorist actions at the appropriate time, and collecting huge amounts of money from weapons manufacturers who stand to reap huge profits from Lake's sole campaign promise: to double the defense budget; Maynard assures that Lake soon has a commanding lead over the vice-president, the previous front runner. Maynard will stop at nothing, including orchestrating a murder, to realize his dream of controlling the president.

While following Lake, Maynard's agents discover he has a PO Box hidden away. They "borrow" the mail - notice the CIA has already been involved in several gross violations of the law, all in the name of national security - and discover to their horror that their "perfect" candidate is conducting a surreptitious correspondence with a young man looking for a wealthy male gigolo. We know that the young man, Ricky" is really the creation of the Brethren. The Brethren, always careful, learn who "AL" really is, and see a huge windfall in the making. What better extortion candidate than someone running for president. Soon they realize that there is a third party involved, a very powerful group of men, but they are determined to make the most of the situation. The ending, which I won't reveal, is less a blockbuster than a revelation of Grisham's sordid view of the world. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
It was okay. ( )
  RamzArtso | Sep 15, 2013 |
Amazon.com 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 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 From Publishers Weekly Only a few megaselling authors of popular fiction deviate dramatically from formula--most notably Stephen King but recently Grisham, too. He's serializing a literary novel, A Painted House, in the Oxford American; his last thriller (The Testament) emphasized spirituality as intensely as suspense; and his deeply absorbing new novel dispenses with a staple not only of his own work but of most commercial fiction: the hero. The novel does feature three antiheroes of a sort, the brethren of the title, judges serving time in a federal prison in Florida for white-collar offenses. They're a hard bunch to root for, though, as their main activity behind bars is running a blackmail scheme in which they bait, hook and squeeze wealthy, closeted gay men through a magazine ad supposedly placed by "Ricky," a young incarcerated gay looking for companionship. Then there's the two-bit alcoholic attorney who's abetting them by running their mail and depositing their dirty profits in an overseas bank. Scarcely more appealing is the big fish the trio snare, Congressman Anthony Lake, who meanwhile is busy selling his lifelong integrity when the director of the CIA offers to lever him into the White House in exchange for a doubling of federal defense spending upon Lake's inauguration. The expertly orchestrated and very complex plot follows these evildoers through their illicit enterprises, devoting considerable attention to the CIA's staging of Lake's presidential campaign and even more to that agency's potentially lethal pursuit of the brethren once it learns that the three are threatening to out candidate Lake. Every personage in this novel lies, cheats, steals and/or kills, and while Grisham's fans may miss the stalwart lawyer-heroes and David vs. Goliath slant of his earlier work, all will be captivated by this clever thriller that presents as crisp a cast as he's yet devised, and as grippingly sardonic yet bitingly moral a scenario as he's ever imagined. Agent, David Gernert. 2.8 million first printing. (Feb. 1)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Grishamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beck, MichaelReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berthon, PatrickTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brauer, Charles.Erzählersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dobner, TullioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gunsteren, Dirk vanÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuipers, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuipers, HugoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuipers, NienkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lorentzen, PeterOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundwall, Sam JTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Menini, Ma. AntoniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Navi, AnneliKujundaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pages, Antonia MeniniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodrigues, Aulyde SoaresTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Gunsteren, DirkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viires, KristiToimetaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Villmann, PeeterTÕlkija.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the weekly docket the court jester wore his standard garb of well-used and deeply faded maroon pajamas and lavender terry-cloth shower shoes with no socks.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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ISBN 0440236673 is for The Brethren; not The Firm
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440236673, Mass Market Paperback)

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 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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:17 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In a federal prison, three former judges who call themselves "the brethren" meet in the law library to run a rougher form of justice inside their community and make a some money, but when one of their scams derails, they are forced to confront the world of their own creation.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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