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The Brotherhood of the Rose (Mortalis #1)

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,628 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
"Riveting...Crackling...It really moves."
They were orphans, Chris and Saul--raised in a Philadelphia school for boys, bonded by friendship, and devoted to a mysterious man called Eliot. He visited them and brought them candy. He treated them like sons. He trained them to be assassins. Now he is trying desperately to have them killed.
Spanning the g
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 12th 1984 by Fawcett (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 30, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spies
”In Greek mythology, the god of love once offered a rose to the god of silence, as a bribe, to keep that god from disclosing the weaknesses of the other gods. In time, the rose became the symbol for silence and secrecy. In the Middle ages, a rose was customarily suspended from the ceiling of a council chamber. The members of the council pledged themselves not to reveal what they discussed in the room, sub rosa under the rose.”

There once were two boys named Romulus and Remus, not the two founders
Apr 09, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it
I'm really glad I reread this. It's been too long & I'd forgotten many of the details. Morrell does a great job spinning conspiracy theories together into an action packed, but quite believable adventure. If you like "The Black List" on TV (the 1st season) you'll love this book. I reread for Action/Adventure Aficionados group April 2016

Morrell's writing is tight and the characters are well drawn. The conspiracies are deep, but easy to believe. Eliot is
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 01, 2015 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
Shelves: spy-fi
One of my favorite writers from a few years ago. David Morrell is (was?) the king of conspiracies (from "a few years ago"). This is the poster child...two orphans raised from a very early age to be part of a group of ultra loyal assassins.

This one stayed with me and it's the one that sent me off finding other books by the author. The characters in this book are very well drawn (one more so than the other I believe) and will create in you a strange sympathy (for the boys...all the boys).

There was
Story follows two orphans who are cared for by a foster father who trains them to become government assassins. Even worse, they are later betrayed by this man and discover he has a network of children being raised to become top notch assassins.

Lots of twists and turns and clever ways of our heroes prevailing, especially at the end when the betraying father is being tracked down.

Be sure to seek out the sub rosa definition. Morrell likes his History which I appreciate.
Pramod Nair
Jun 05, 2015 Pramod Nair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a reader who loves taut, suspenseful spy thrillers from the cold war era with a good dose of plot twists and turns then you will definitely love ‘The Brotherhood of the Rose’. Written by ‘David Morrell’ - the man who created the legendary character ‘John Rambo’ - this classic espionage thriller, which is the first book in a trilogy, is full of spies, killers, trade-craft and high-octane action spread across locations all over the globe.

The author is a master in controlling the suspen
Feb 20, 2014 Feliks rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-thrillers
So many commentators on the GR page for this book, seem to have absorbed the experience entirely wrong. Be in no doubt: 'Brotherhood of the Rose' is is one of the greatest modern spy thrillers. I'll tell you precisely why, in a moment.

Just be aware first of all, that there was an interval in espionage publishing which had dragged on--just before this title appeared--in which nothing really excellent was being done. Nothing formidable had appeared for a while. Forsyth was quiet, Follett was quiet
Jul 22, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While initially getting into the book was hard to do, I really got attached to Chris and Saul, so much so that I found myself crying several times throughout the book. The characters of the brothers were well rounded and left you wondering how one could embrace violence so naturally and the other would later shy away from his life as an assassin.

I'm not sure why so many people brought up technology in their reviews, the book was written when people still knew what the phrase "cold war" meant. I
Nov 22, 2015 Josen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5......This book was written in the early 80's and was set some time after the Vietnam war. It's a story of two men, orphaned at a young age and brought up by a man who trained them in a military system. They grew to love him as a father and after the war he trained them even more into being the elite of the elite in special forces. So it comes as a shock when he decides to kill them.

I really liked this book. It was a random one I pulled while at the library browsing. I'd never read David Mor
Oct 05, 2010 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Morrell, better known as the writer of the novel the first Rambo movie was based on, wrote a spy trilogy in the early 1980s that has just been released in ebook format.
The first, Brotherhood of the Rose, follows two orphans that have been raised as brothers and trained to become expert operatives for a secret branch of the CIA.
One of the things that sets this book apart from other spy novels is a great concept – on the eve of WWII all of the directors of the various intelligence organizati
Roger Weston
Feb 01, 2015 Roger Weston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book drags me along like a little girl drags a rag doll down the street. The doll ain't getting away. Sometimes the girl shakes the doll or pulls it through the mud. Maybe a dog tries to wrench it away from her, but she wins the tug of war. Likewise, this book pulls me through a rocky adventure. I'm happy to be dragged along.

If you crave adventure stories, you might also try The Golden Catch, a thriller/adventure novel where the action unfolds in the stormy Aleutian Islands.

Roger Weston,
Jul 17, 2012 Dale rated it really liked it
Like all Morrell books, a good bit of action


Brotherhood of the Rose is set in the Cold War era in the world of big time spies. Two orphans living in an orphanage, Saul and Chris, were singled out for education and training that led to them being paired together as super spies working for the CIA. Now, the man who trained them - the man they consider to be their father - has betrayed them. Saul and Chris avoid all sorts of troubles as they unravel an international plot against them a
Greg Lang
Oct 08, 2012 Greg Lang rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book so much I read it three times over the years. Two highly trained CIA operatives that we're once orphans are betrayed by the only father they ever knew. They desperately attempt to discover the truth as operatives from every network in the world hunt them down with orders to kill. It's a fast paced race against time with plenty of plot twists and suspense to keep you glued to your reading chair! It was also a pretty cool TV movie about 20 years ago with Peter Strauss, David Morse ...more
Oct 04, 2012 Deanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love almost anything by David Morrell. This was the book that turned me on to his fast paced, heart-stopping style of writing. If you like mystery, action, and page-turning intrigue, read this.
Apr 18, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: action
An engaging spy thriller that isn't outdated even now. Reads fast, mixes up action and plot in a world-wide arena. Bought it at the local thrift store and it was a good deal.
Martin Hill
Dec 21, 2014 Martin Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having lost his father in WWII, many of David Morrell’s thrillers involve themes dealing with father-son relationships. In First Blood, it was the relationship between Vietnam veteran Rambo and Sheriff Teasle, a veteran of the Korean War. In Last Reveille, it was the relationship between a young recruit and an old veteran taking part in Gen. John Pershing’s Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916.

In his Cold War espionage thriller, Brotherhood of the Rose, Morrell again returns to this
Jul 27, 2007 Andreai rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Allyse
This is possibly one of the best thrillers that I have ever read. If you like Robert will like this David Morrell
Rick Lee James
Jul 04, 2015 Rick Lee James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book by Morrell

This book was a real pioneer in the genre of espionage thrillers. It's smart, fast-paced, and just a great introduction to the character of Saul, The character the even today I believe would make a great hero for the big screen. David Morrell has done an interesting thing in the way it's in pairs then a violence with secret religious orders. There is a strong sense of grace in this book for even men that have committed unforgivable crimes. It's deeper than your a
While reading a spy story I expect to be challenged. Thanks to the brilliant works of novelist like Robert Ludlum and John Le Carré, I have come to expect an intricate story of intrigue and deception. In those novels, a true spy is able to keep several lines of the story from intersecting and blowing up in his face. He dodges bullets as much as the discovery of who he really is. In a real spy story, the stakes tend to get higher and higher the further along you read. To me these are the all impo ...more
Mar 15, 2016 Tim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A solid beginning is wasted by this story that goes over the world and gets nowhere. Even the ending is incomplete. 1 of 10 stars
Nov 30, 2015 Ru rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kitchener, Ontario's David Morrell wrote "The Brotherhod of the Rose" in 1983, and it represents a cat-and-mouse thriller that pre-dates spy thrillers to come. It relies on instinct and footwork, so to speak, as opposed to technology, such as the Internet. That puts the spotlight on the cunning nature of its characters as they chase each other across the globe.

Morrell is a great writer who seemingly can write many styles of books well, and that certainly helps his cause here. He embroils the rea
Carl Alves
Aug 22, 2015 Carl Alves rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Brotherhood of the Rose, two orphans, Chris and Saul, were raised in an orphanage in Philadelphia until Eliot, their mentor and father figure took them in as adopted sons. From an early age, he trained them to be his personal assassins. After things go awry, he is now trying to have them killed.

This thriller is loaded with action and takes place at a very fast pace, making the reading of the novel enjoyable. Chris and Saul are well-developed characters. I also enjoyed the concept of the n
Sep 30, 2009 Dona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great action packed book! Don't let the prologue lose you. If your eyes start glazing over after a few paragraphs of the prologue, just skip to Book 1 (chapter 1). It's an easy read from there and a page turner. I actually read this book more than once. First time was in the early 90's and then I read it again about 15 years later.
Jeffrey Belcher
Jul 05, 2009 Jeffrey Belcher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite book ever. The movie is currently in the works. It's too bad that David Morrell won't have his hand in it's production to ensure its authenticity. I emailed him and he told me that he had nothing to do with the production. It sucks though, I was hoping to one day work with him to make this movie. Oh well.
Oct 31, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars for this book. I loved it...spies & espionage. Non stop action...David Morrell writes really well and doesn't waffle on trying to fill pages like so many authors do these days. It was written in the 80s and is a little dated in sections, i.e. the technology but I don't think that matters. Great read!
Feb 28, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m, suspense, thriller
I was entranced in this story from the very start. It was well written with solid characters and plenty of twist and turns. The attention to detail is exceptional. It moves along at a very fast pace with plenty of action.

Some language and sex takes place but not detailed.
Prosenjit Paul
Sep 08, 2013 Prosenjit Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best spy thrillers I have read,and I have read quite a few. This was recommended as part of a book club discussion, and I am glad I read this. Fast paced, with enough twists and turns for the intelligent reader. This book is great enough for a reread :-D
Patrice Hoffman
Nov 22, 2011 Patrice Hoffman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There isn't much I can say except this was a great book. I haven't read any spy novels before this but... I'm definitely a fan of the genre (now). I suggest anyone who's looking for a good read to pick this up. It's pretty old but all the best books are.
Tim Healy
Nov 25, 2015 Tim Healy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll confess that I'm not always wildly enthusiastic about David Morrell's books. He's a solid writer of spy stories. Not all of them work well for me, though. The books in this series stand up well for me, though. This is a re-read for me, as I went through these in High School. This one really stands up remarkably well, and I don't think it had to. The thing is, the three main characters were developed with a lot of care. Chris, Saul, and Eliot all have back stories and personality. Even thoug ...more
Jan 17, 2015 V. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
nice, tight, fast paced and intriguing. A great author with great imagination.
Michele Harrod
Sep 05, 2012 Michele Harrod rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah, just saw someone reading a Morrell novel and thought I'd check if it was the same writer. It is indeed. I read this years ago, and I LOVED it. It was made into a TV mini-series too, which, if I recall, was almost as good.
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David Morrell is a Canadian novelist from Kitchener, Ontario, who has been living in the United States for a number of years. He is best known for his debut 1972 novel First Blood, which would later become a successful film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. More recently, he has been writing the Captain America comic books limited-series The Chosen.
More about David Morrell...

Other Books in the Series

Mortalis (3 books)
  • The Fraternity Of The Stone (Mortalis, #2)
  • The League of Night and Fog (Mortalis, #3)

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“Fasting is the only method of suicide permitted by the Catholic Church. All other ways imply despair, a distrust of God’s wisdom, an unwillingness to bear the hardships with which God tests his children. An absolute sin, suicide’s punishment is eternal damnation in the fires of Hell. But fasting is undertaken for the purpose of penance, meditation, and spiritual ecstasy. It purifies the spirit by denying the body. It brings a soul closer to God.” 2 likes
“Hey, what about you? That monastery didn’t make you soft, I hope.” “The Cistercians?” Chris laughed. “Make me soft? They’re the toughest order in the Catholic Church.” “They really don’t talk?” “Not only that. They believe in brutal daily work. I might as well have spent another six years in Special Forces.” 2 likes
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