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The Brethren | [John Grisham]

The Brethren

In a minimum security federal prison known as Trumble, three former judges who call themselves the Brethren are quietly writing letters to unsuspecting victims of a monumental mail scam. Much to their delight, the money is pouring in. But now they've ensnared the wrong man and the Brethren's days of marking time are over.
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Publisher's Summary

Trumble is a minimum security federal prison, a "camp," home to the usual assortment of relatively harmless criminals - drug dealers, bank robbers, swindlers, embezzlers, tax evaders, two Wall Street crooks, one doctor, and at least five lawyers. And three former judges who call themselves the Brethren: one from Texas, one from California, and one from Mississippi. They meet each day in the law library, their turf at Trumble, where they write briefs, handle cases for other inmates, practice law without a license, and sometimes dispense jailhouse justice. And they spend hours writing letters. They are fine-tuning a mail scam, and it's starting to really work. The money is pouring in. Then their little scam goes awry. It ensnares the wrong victim, a powerful man outside, a man with dangerous friends. The Brethren's days of quietly marking time are over.

©2000 Belfrey Holdings, Inc.; (P)2000 Random House, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (695 )
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4.1 (181 )
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4.3 (182 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Margo New Mexico 03-04-03
    Margo New Mexico 03-04-03 Member Since 2002

    Tucked away in the beautiful mountains of New Mexico.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    178
    ratings
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    "My Favorite Grisham to Date"

    I've read (listened) to most of Grisham's work, and this is my favorite thus far. I really enjoy Grisham's dry sarcasm, and this book is full of it.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debora Concord, CA, United States 11-23-03
    Debora Concord, CA, United States 11-23-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
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    "Great Read"

    This was my first audible book and I enjoyed it immensely. The narration was wonderful, and the storyline kept me involved from the first page to the last. I almost wanted my hour long commute each way to work to be longer.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerret Crockett, VA, USA 09-04-05
    Jerret Crockett, VA, USA 09-04-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "This'll work!"

    Very cool story. Grisham interwove two seemingly disjointed tales into each other gracefully. There wasn't much of a "mystery" involved as the reader can easily guess where the story is going. That fact, however, doesn't take anything away from the sheer brilliance of Grisham's storytelling effort here.

    Grisham broke out of the cookie cutter mold with this novel. There is no "good guy". Every character has a different angle and motivation but they're all crooks. It's great fun! The narration is fantastic.

    Give it a whirl.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tiffany Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada 10-27-05
    Tiffany Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada 10-27-05 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Exciting and humorous with clever twist"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book ?another one of Grisham's best. Frank Muller, as usual, is a splendid narrator.

    The Brethren is a pungent study of morality with characters drawn from a clear comprehension of human nature. Spicer, Beech and Yarber will no doubt plummet to the same fatal calamity as treacherous Trevor.
    It's not good to be too greedy.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Wilmington, NC, USA 09-19-03
    Chris Wilmington, NC, USA 09-19-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
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    146
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    "One of his best books"

    I love the humor that Grisham spews in his novels & this book is overflowing with it. By far this is one of my favorite Grisham's.
    Frank Muller has a wonderful reading voice & captures the story fully, it is sad that he is no longer with us.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Fortune Louisville, KY United States 10-07-09
    John Fortune Louisville, KY United States 10-07-09 Member Since 2001

    Louisville John

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "Fantastic Escape"

    After listening to around 6 Grisham novels, I have yet to find one of his legal thrillers that I haven't enjoyed.

    One reviewer complained about the narrater being breathy? I found the reader, Frank Muller to be top notch - I would seek him as a narrator again. He was dramatic in his reading and his characters were extremely distinct and consistent w/out being corny. They sounded like real characters.

    The book is fairly typical for a Grisham book, which is fantastic. I guess what captures me is that someone is always finding a way to get rich and then hanging on the edge to find out if their scam will work or they will lose everything...

    I love Grisham books and this was no exception to my rule.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon richmond, KY, USA 02-03-09
    Brandon richmond, KY, USA 02-03-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another home run"

    What can I say?? Just a great story made better by the narrator, Frank Muller. His passing last summer leaves big shoes to fill for future narrators.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Allen walker 08-12-05 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very interesting plot."

    but ultimately still a Grisham novel... lack of depth is a problem.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randall Grand Haven, MI, USA 06-16-09
    Randall Grand Haven, MI, USA 06-16-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good story, bad reading"

    Grisham again manages to weave an intricate plot and surprise a reader with unpredictable twists and turns. Unfortunately, Frank Muller's reading was so obnoxious, it was a struggle to finish listening to it. The exaggerated breathiness and painful intonation were irritating and distasteful. I don't know what Muller was paid for this travesty, but it was too much. Needless to say, I won't buy anything more he may have loaned his voice to.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire Jerusalem, Israel 04-20-14
    Claire Jerusalem, Israel 04-20-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Very disappointing."

    There are three story lines in The Brethren. One takes place mainly in a minimum security federal prison camp where three disgraced former federal judges are incarcerated and from where they operate an extortion scam. A second story line takes place entirely within "the bunker", a windowless room from which Teddy Maynard, the aging and disabled director of the CIA, plays kingmaker and manipulates domestic and international events. The third story line involves the people outside prison and the CIA who are affected by the machinations of the judges and the kingmaker: primarily the judges' lawyer and their victims.

    The plot is based on the premise that Teddy Maynard, the CIA director cum kingmaker feels that the US needs a stronger military. To that end, he grooms a relatively unknown member of Congress, Representative Aaron Lake, to become the next president of the United States, a president beholden to the CIA and especially to Teddy himself. With unlimited funds, personnel and influence, Teddy molds reality to his liking.

    But all the resources that Teddy commands almost fail to discover Lake's secret, a secret that would surely lose him the election if discovered. The bulk of the novel is about the extensive measures taken by Teddy and the CIA to protect their investment in Lake, eventually bringing together the three story lines in what is probably supposed to be a shocking conclusion.

    Not one of the characters in the book is well-developed. None of them have interior lives and none of them are particularly interesting. Indeed, none of them are particularly likable. I was unable to connect with any of the characters enough to root for or against them. Their interactions are formulaic. They seem to have no hopes or dreams, no love, no hate, no regrets, no ambition.

    The great potential for including CIA gadgets and "trade craft" to spark interest went unexploited. The legal side of the story--John Grisham's strong suit--is completely neglected. The three women in the book are almost caricatures... but so are most of the men.

    The narration by John Muller was marred by his habit of exhaling while pronouncing words, making it sound like he was on the treadmill while recording.

    All in all, I found The Brethren a great disappointment. The only reason I listened all the way to the end was my vain hope that there would be a twist in the story and something interesting would happen


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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