Brotherly Love and Revenge: 'Brotherhood of the Rose'

posted Dec 21, 2014, 11:02 AM by Martin Roy Hill   [ updated Aug 4, 2015, 4:13 PM ]
Brotherhood of the RoseHaving lost his father in WWII, many of David Morrell’s thrillers involve themes dealing with father-son relationships. In First Blood, it was the relationship between Vietnam veteran Rambo and Sheriff Teasle, a veteran of the Korean War. In Last Reveille, it was the relationship between a young recruit and an old veteran taking part in Gen. John Pershing’s Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916.

In his Cold War espionage thriller, Brotherhood of the Rose, Morrell again returns to this familial theme with a plot revolving around a father’s betrayal of his sons. Saul and Chris are orphans who meet in a military school, and are raised by a mysterious foster father named Elliot. A high-ranking CIA official, Elliot raises the boys to be highly skilled assassins. In turn, both sons are devoted to the only father either have ever known. But when Elliot sets up Saul to take the fall for the assassination of a friend of the U.S. president, he discovers the love his sons have for each other is greater than their love for him.

Known for doing deep research for his novels, Morrell has written an excellent primer on Cold War spy craft. And while the novel is full of thrilling action, it is the relationship between Chris, Saul, and Elliot that drives the plot. When Chris joins forces with Saul, Elliot must send other assassins to kill them. When the foster brothers realize they have been nothing but tools for Elliot’s private spy game, they go to all extremes to wreak their revenge against the man they consider their father.

Brotherhood of the Rose is another fine piece by the man many consider the father of the modern thriller.
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