Summary and book reviews of The Brethren by John Grisham

The Brethren

by John Grisham

The Brethren by John Grisham X
The Brethren by John Grisham
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2000, 366 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2000, 366 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Three former judges meet each day in the law library of their minimum security prison to fine-tune a mail scam. Then things go awry. They ensnare the wrong victim, and the Brethren's days of quietly marking time are over.

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, 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 on the outside, a man with dangerous friends, and the Brethren's days of quietly marking time are over.

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 ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Beliefnet
Grisham's moral tone has been exemplary in the national debate, lacking Ken Starr's dogmatism, but maintaining a sense that some things are beyond the pale. In interviews recently, Grisham has expressed skepticism about the moral tone of the country, or rather about an absence of a moral tone. Grisham lashed out angrily at Hollywood for producing Oliver Stone's violent "Natural Born Killers," which apparently led to the copycat killing of one of Grisham's friends. Grisham, whose books tend to sell well as movies, has a voice in Hollywood, and his demand that certain lines not be crossed was widely discussed.

These recent expressions of dismay suggest that his disillusionment is deep. Nowhere is this despair more evident than in his latest, "The Brethren.... Grisham seems to have thrown up his hands, as if say, what's the point? It's a strange turn for the writer we've come to look to as, if not a moral beacon, then a bright thread in our cultural fabric.

The San Francisco Chronicle
Grisham's schizoid, occasionally diverting new novel, The Brethren, comes across like a typical Grisham legal thriller that's been infiltrated by a crack team of Tom Clancy frogmen.

The New York Times
The plot is as up-to-date as tomorrow's newspaper, with allusions to presidential polls and debates, campaign financing, money laundering and offshore financial finagling.... Add to these tantalizing ingredients the steady action, with some clever surprises.

Publishers Weekly
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.

Reader Reviews

Palesa Mpuru

Funny
It was a very good read indeed, interesting and very realistic as your mind gets glued to the book. Very funny in other episodes of the book and brilliant. The end was somehow less flattering when compared to the whole book itself, but it leaves you ...   Read More

silver-o

so far the best

Anonymous

This was a page turner for me. I could not put it down! It was as tantalizing as 'The Testament'. 'The Brethren' is my second favorite Grisham novel (following 'Testament') and I will even read it again someday.

mastermind

book was good, I agree did not give any names, but good reading. If anyone like drama and groups, there is one that is all about the DIXIE MAFIA and familes of STATE LINE MAFIA and their familes you can meet and talk to its in yahoo groups under ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by John Grisham

If you liked The Brethren, try these:

  • The Godfather Returns jacket

    The Godfather Returns

    by Mark Winegardner

    Published 2005

    About this book

    More books by this author

    The missing years from the greatest crime saga of all time...it's 1955 and Michael Corleone has won a bloody victory in the war among New York's crime families but now he must consolidate his power, save his marriage and take his family into legitimate business.

  • Violets Are Blue jacket

    Violets Are Blue

    by James Patterson

    Published 2002

    About this book

    More books by this author

    Alex Cross plunges into a netherworld of dark ritual.  Meanwhile the super-criminal known as the Mastermind is threatening everything he holds dear.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes

Books with similar themes


Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Women Talking
    Women Talking
    by Miriam Toews
    Miriam Toews' Women Talking is a circadian novel, unfolding over a span of just a few hours and ...
  • Book Jacket: Confessions of an Innocent Man
    Confessions of an Innocent Man
    by David R. Dow
    It is circumstance that carries the wave that sweeps trendy Houston restaurateur Rafael Zhettah to ...
  • Book Jacket: Memories of the Future
    Memories of the Future
    by Siri Hustvedt
    I've never kept a journal, but my mother has written in hers for years, the annual volumes she's ...
  • Book Jacket: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
    Rajeev Balasubramanyam encapsulates the theme of Professor Chandra Follows his Bliss in its first ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Greek to Me
    by Mary Norris

    The Comma Queen returns with a buoyant book about language, love, and the wine-dark sea.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Affairs of the Falcóns
    by Melissa Rivero

    A beautiful, urgent novel about the lengths one woman is willing to go to build a new life.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones

A masterpiece of storytelling, and a 2018 Oprah's Book Club Selection.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win Ecstasy

Win copies to share with friends or your book club!

Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, author, daughter, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A B Penny A T U

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.