Betrayal and treachery were the themes of David Morrell’s last two works--THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE and THE FRATERNITY OF THE STONE--but in this work he concentrates on salvation and regeneration. Saul and Drew turned their backs on the world of deceit and sudden death after they exorcised their respective villains and retired. Saul and his wife and son joined a kibbutz in Israel, while Drew sought out the ascetic life of a hermit deep in the Egyptian desert. Each man, in his own way, hoped to come to grips with the legacy of their previous work and the peculiar bitterness which accompanies the realization that one’s life has been wasted in the pursuit of goals which no longer seem worthwhile. Unfortunately, the mysterious disappearance of Saul’s father-in-law and the kidnapping and apparent murder of a Catholic prelate combine to terminate their self-imposed exile from the world of international espionage and terrorism.
As Saul attempts to determine the whereabouts of his wife’s father, and Drew investigates the apparent death of the high-ranking ecclesiastic, they begin to realize that the solution to one problem will provide the answer to the other. Moreover, once they join forces, they become aware of a common threat from two skilled assassins: the competent and deadly Iceman and the sinister and amoral Seth. As in all morality plays, truth and virtue will prevail.
Morrell declares that his goal in this brotherhood trilogy is to combine the action format of Robert Ludlum with the cerebral approach of John le Carre. Thus, this work and its two predecessors provide enough violence to satisfy the beast which Sigmund Freud insists lurks within us all as well as a plethora of information concerning the tradecraft of the contemporary agent in the field. This is definitely a page-turner of the first order, and at the end of the book Morrell lays the foundation for yet another sequel.