Thursday, July 21, 2011

Listened to: "Brotherhood of the Rose" by David Morrell

Listened to: Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell, 1984 (1985 for audio version), downloaded from Overdrive.

I am currently reading a book of espionage short stories Agents of Treachery. Morrell has a story Agents and his author bio mentions that Brotherhood was made into a miniseries. News to me.

In 1938 a group of espionage bosses created the Abelard Sanction to create safe houses around the world for any spy, from any country, for any crime.

Chris and Saul were raised in an military boys school - an orphanage. Their foster father, of sorts, Elliott, is a big wig in the CIA. The boys were taught an intensive martial art for years, joined the Army, joined the Special Forces, served in Vietnam, joined the CIA, took jobs as highly skilled assassins and spies.

Saul is tasked by Elliott to murder a group of billionaires negotiating an oil deal with the arab countries. Saul is betrayed by Elliott who set him up as the fall man and then tries to have him killed. Chris is in Bangkok to commit suicide when he kills a Soviet agent in a sanction house. Murder inside a sanction house is grounds for immediate execution by any available agent from any country.

Chris and Saul meet up and try to figure out what is going on. The 1938 espionage summit by espionage bosses still continues as Elliott and others manipulate politics and actions behind the scenes. Chris and Elliott discover this while also teaming up with an Israeli spy Saul used to date.

Chris and Saul set out to get Elliott. Chris is killed. Saul is out for revenge and tracks Elliott to a sanction safe house. Elliott and Saul clash and both are evicted. Saul does not want to kill Elliott in the end but Elliott betrays him once more and Saul shoots him.

1. This was pretty decent. The second half was better with more action and danger to protagonists. Elliott turns out to have been an incredibly manipulative and awful person.
2. This was done in 1984 and Morrell has to explain how computers and modems work.
3. How dated is the spycraft? No worries over cell phones but most everything is done in cash to avoid notice. Easy for them to break into the Def Int Agency computer system after interrogating a computer guy for pass codes.
4. This must predate the techno-info method of throwing military acronyms at the reader; piling on detail about vehicles and weapons and equipment. Even Barry Eisler who will list name brands and models. I wonder if Morrell currently follows that path? He mentions Berettas and UZIs but only because they are supposed to be unique identifiers of the Mossad and used by bad guys to create confusion.
5. Saul is described as "a tall Jew" by a stranger. Huh?
6. NoveList has the publication dates for Morrell's novels all screwed up. They will list a later edition's date rather than the original pub date. For instance, First Blood is listed as 2000 but the review source is KIRKUS from 1972.
7. First Blood is Morrell's first novel and KIRKUS gave it a slam bang review. I wonder if KIRKUS was as picky then as they are - notoriously - now.
8. Elliott had several pairs of "foster" sons he used up. At the end of the book only Saul and two others exist. It would have been interesting to have had Saul and those other two interact directly. The other two are still completely devoted to their "dad".

No comments: