Grisham opens The Brethren with a false court presided over by the imprisoned judges and a character who performs the duties of a bailiff but thinks of himself as the "court jester." This mockery of justice neatly foreshadows the opinion Grisham offers in this novel of the real court system, showing that it and the rest of government are not what they are supposed to be. And yet, in prison, the three ex-judges appear to pass fair decisions and help keep the peace, so Grisham shows us the positive aspects of a justice system even at its lowest. This does not, however, redeem the ex-judges.
Two main story lines intersect in this novel. The first is the squalid tale of the exjudges running their blackmail scam, and the second is the election plot, tied into an epic tale of an impending third world war. This thread seems like a classic spy thriller, except that it is only a sketch of a plot. Grisham zooms in on the first storyline, the tale of the fallen judges in mimesis, full close-up mode with extensive dialogue and description, while offering the secondary plot in diegesis, or summary-style story telling with indirect dialogue and exposition. When the characters from the secondary plot, Lake and Maynard, intersect with the first plot, then they are given scenes full of detailed description as they happen, especially with Maynard's agents, but this mimesis is in context of the first storyline, the blackmailing scam, and the second story- line always...
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