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The Brotherhood of the Rose

(Mortalis #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  6,179 ratings  ·  209 reviews
Chris and Saul were orphans - raised in a Philadelphia school for boys, bonded by friendship and devoted to a mysterious man called Eliot. He visited them and brought them sweets. He treated them like sons. He trained them to be assassins.

Now he is trying to have them killed.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 16th 1992 by Headline Book Publishing (first published 1983)
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,179 ratings  ·  209 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 01, 2015 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
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Pramod Nair
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series
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
Roger Weston
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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,
Prosenjit Paul
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Michele Harrod
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
One of the best thrillers I have ever read...from the author of First Blood.
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much I read it three times over the years. Two highly trained CIA operatives that were 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
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m, thriller, suspense
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.
Tom Swift
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun Espionage read from David Morrell. Looking forward to grabbing the rest of this series.
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Mike Kratts
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
One of the best international intrigue books ever written. About two brothers (by adoption) who are raised as assassins from a very young age by their adopted father. Could not put this down.
Martin Hill
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Rick Lee Lee James
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
Sep 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
May 04, 2008 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 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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!
Jim Perrone
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting read - good spy thriller with nice subplot and psychological bent. Much is dated and the paperback editing was poor (quite a few errors) but not distracting enough to lessen the experience. Quick read & worth it.
Patrice Hoffman
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is one of the greatest spy novels I read. I read it a long time ago and forgot its title. Thank God for Google Book Search. My search words were Baby Ruth and orphanage. Aaah, such sweet feeling, finding it out again.
Daniel James
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Abelard Sanction, an agreed policy between world governments which provides a number of neutral-ground sanctuaries for any operative of the global intelligence community who needs to lie low and evade danger. Mortal enemies must abide by the rules whilst under the roof of such establishments, or face their fallout of their continued hostility.

I love this idea. It's very much in line with John Wick's Continental, however this book was written quite a few years prior to Reeve's on-screen bad-a
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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.

Other books in the series

Mortalis (3 books)
  • The Fraternity Of The Stone (Mortalis, #2)
  • The League of Night and Fog (Mortalis, #3)
“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.” 1 likes
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