Salvation and Suspense In Fraternity of the Stone

posted Feb 14, 2015, 9:26 AM by Martin Roy Hill   [ updated Sep 24, 2015, 2:30 PM ]
The Fraternity of the Stone is thriller writer David Morrell's second book in his Mortalis espionage trilogy which began with The Brotherhood of the Rose and ended with The League of Night and Fog. In Fraternity, Morrell explores a theme he touched on in Brotherhood - a professional assassin who tires of the violence and seeks redemption through religious contemplation.

Drew MacLane was one of the government's best assassins until the day he saw what he believed was a sign from God. For six years, MacLane sought solitary salvation in the confines of a Catholic monastery where he saw and spoke to no one except a little church mouse he called Stuart Little. 

Then Stuart mysteriously dies after nibbling part of MacLane's sparse meal. Venturing out of his room, MacLane discovers all of the monastery's residents have been poisoned. The only survivor, he flees the monastery to seek help from the Church. 

Hunted by unknown assailants, MacLane becomes entangled in the search for the identity of an assassin known only as Janus who is responsible for the murders of several Catholic priests. Working with a mysterious warrior priest, MacLane struggles to save both his own life and his eternal soul. Eventually he learns in the world of religion, as in the world of espionage, it's frequently difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

Morrell builds a compelling plot that intertwines an ancient group of holy warriors dating back to the Crusades with modern political machinations. MacLane is a literally a tortured soul, forced to kill repeatedly for his own survival while growing more fearful of losing his own salvation with each death. Mixed in with the action and suspense is a detailed narrative of the history of the Catholic Church and its diverse religious orders that is presented with such finesse it never interrupts the flow of the story.

Morrell is considered by many to be the father of the modern thriller. With The Fraternity of the Stone, he retains that honor.
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