Cover image for The brethren
Title:
The brethren
Author:
Grisham, John.
Personal Author:
Edition:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
New York : Random House Large Print, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
528 pages (large print) ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780375409721
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

They call themselves the Brethren: three disgraced former judges doing time in a Florida federal prison.

One was sent up for tax evasion. Another, for skimming bingo profits. And the third, for a career-ending drunken joyride.

Meeting daily in the prison law library, taking exercise walks in their boxer shorts, these judges-turned-felons can reminisce about old court cases, dispense a little jailhouse justice, and contemplate where their lives went wrong.

Or they can use their time in prison to get very rich -- very fast. And so they sit, sprawled in the prison library, furiously writing letters, fine-tuning a wickedly brilliant extortion scam ... while events outside their prison walls begin to erupt.

A bizarre presidential election is holding the nation in its grips -- and a powerful government figure is pulling some very hidden strings. For the Brethren, the timing couldn't be better. Because they've just found the perfect victim...


From the Paperback edition.


Author Notes

John Grisham was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas on February 8, 1955. He received a bachelor's degree in accounting from Mississippi State University. He was admitted to the bar in Mississippi in 1981 after receiving a law degree from the University of Mississippi, specializing in criminal law. While a lawyer in private practice in Southaven, Mississippi, Grisham served as a Democrat in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1983 until 1990. He left the law and politics to become a full-time author.

His first novel, A Time to Kill, was published in 1989. His other novels include The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, Calico Joe, The Racketeer, Gray Mountain, Rogue Lawyer, The Confession, The Litigators, The Whistler, Camino Island, The Rooster Bar, and the Theodore Boone series. Several of his novels were adapted into films including The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Have Goldsmith, Grisham, and Morrell joined the no-advance galley club, or is their appearance here a fluke? Stay tuned. --Bonnie Smothers


Publisher's Weekly Review

Only a few megaselling authors of popular fiction deviate dramatically from formula--most notably Stephen King but recently Grisham, too. He's serializing a literary novel, A Painted House, in the Oxford American; his last thriller (The Testament) emphasized spirituality as intensely as suspense; and his deeply absorbing new novel dispenses with a staple not only of his own work but of most commercial fiction: the hero. The novel does feature three antiheroes of a sort, the brethren of the title, judges serving time in a federal prison in Florida for white-collar offenses. They're a hard bunch to root for, though, as their main activity behind bars is running a blackmail scheme in which they bait, hook and squeeze wealthy, closeted gay men through a magazine ad supposedly placed by "Ricky," a young incarcerated gay looking for companionship. Then there's the two-bit alcoholic attorney who's abetting them by running their mail and depositing their dirty profits in an overseas bank. Scarcely more appealing is the big fish the trio snare, Congressman Anthony Lake, who meanwhile is busy selling his lifelong integrity when the director of the CIA offers to lever him into the White House in exchange for a doubling of federal defense spending upon Lake's inauguration. The expertly orchestrated and very complex plot follows these evildoers through their illicit enterprises, devoting considerable attention to the CIA's staging of Lake's presidential campaign and even more to that agency's potentially lethal pursuit of the brethren once it learns that the three are threatening to out candidate Lake. Every personage in this novel lies, cheats, steals and/or kills, and while Grisham's fans may miss the stalwart lawyer-heroes and David vs. Goliath slant of his earlier work, all will be captivated by this clever thriller that presents as crisp a cast as he's yet devised, and as grippingly sardonic yet bitingly moral a scenario as he's ever imagined. Agent, David Gernert. 2.8 million first printing. (Feb. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

No, they're not monks but three former judges in a minimum security prison who meet in the law library and scheme to make money. But then one of their schemes gets them in trouble with someone on the outside who is very, very powerful. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

FOR THE WEEKLY DOCKET the court jester wore his standard garb of well-used and deeply faded maroon pajamas and lavender terry-cloth shower shoes with no socks. He wasn't the only inmate who went about his daily business in his pajamas, but no one else dared wear lavender shoes. His name was T. Karl, and he'd once owned banks in Boston. The pajamas and shoes weren't nearly as troubling as the wig. It parted at the middle and rolled in layers downward, over his ears, with tight curls coiling off into three directions, and fell heavily onto his shoulders. It was a bright gray, almost white, and fashioned after the Old English magistrate's wigs from centuries earlier. A friend on the outside had found it at a secondhand costume store in Manhattan, in the Village. T. Karl wore it to court with great pride, and, odd as it was, it had, with time, become part of the show. The other inmates kept their distance from T. Karl anyway, wig or not. He stood behind his flimsy folding table in the prison cafeteria, tapped a plastic mallet that served as a gavel, cleared his squeaky throat, and announced with great dignity: "Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. The Inferior Federal Court of North Florida is now in session. Please rise." No one moved, or at least no one made an effort to stand. Thirty inmates lounged in various stages of repose in plastic cafeteria chairs, some looking at the court jester, some chatting away as if he didn't exist. T. Karl continued: "Let all ye who search for justice draw nigh and get screwed." No laughs. It had been funny months earlier when T. Karl first tried it. Now it was just another part of the show. He sat down carefully, making sure the rows of curls bouncing upon his shoulders were given ample chance to be seen, then he opened a thick red leather book which served as the official record for the court. He took his work very seriously. Three men entered the room from the kitchen. Two of them wore shoes. One was eating a saltine. The one with no shoes was also bare-legged up to his knees, so that below his robe his spindly legs could be seen. They were smooth and hairless and very brown from the sun. A large tattoo had been applied to his left calf. He was from California. All three wore old church robes from the same choir, pale green with gold trim. They came from the same store as T. Karl's wig, and had been presented by him as gifts at Christmas. That was how he kept his job as the court's official clerk. There were a few hisses and jeers from the spectators as the judges ambled across the tile floor, in full regalia, their robes flowing. They took their places behind a long folding table, near T. Karl but not too near, and faced the weekly gathering. The short round one sat in the middle. Joe Roy Spicer was his name, and by default he acted as the Chief Justice of the tribunal. In his previous life, Judge Spicer had been a Justice of the Peace in Mississippi, duly elected by the people of his little county, and sent away when the feds caught him skimming bingo profits from a Shriners club. "Please be seated," he said. Not a soul was standing. The judges adjusted their folding chairs and shook their robes until they fell properly around them. The assistant warden stood to the side, ignored by the inmates. A guard in uniform was with him. The Brethren met once a week with the prison's approval. They heard cases, mediated disputes, settled little fights among the boys, and had generally proved to be a stabilizing factor amid the population. Spicer looked at the docket, a neat hand-printed sheet of paper prepared by T. Karl, and said, "Court shall come to order." To his right was the Californian, the Honorable Finn Yarber, age sixty, in for two years now with five to go for income tax evasion. A vendetta, he still maintained to anyone who would listen. A crusade by a Republican governor who'd managed to rally the voters in a recall drive to remove Chief Justice Yarber from the California Supreme Court. The rallying point had been Yarber's opposition to the death penalty, and his high-handedness in delaying every execution. Folks wanted blood, Yarber prevented it, the Republicans whipped up a frenzy, and the recall was a smashing success. They pitched him onto the street, where he floundered for a while until the IRS began asking questions. Educated at Stanford, indicted in Sacramento, sentenced in San Francisco, and now serving his time at a federal prison in Florida. In for two years and Finn was still struggling with the bitterness. He still believed in his own innocence, still dreamed of conquering his enemies. But the dreams were fading. He spent a lot of time on the jogging track, alone, baking in the sun and dreaming of another life. Excerpted from The Brethren by John Grisham All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.