The Fraternity of the Stone
David Morrell
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Buy *The Fraternity of the Stone* online

The Fraternity of the Stone
David Morrell
480 pages
August 2009
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Once Drew MacLane was the star agent of "Scalpel", a clandestine government-sanctioned assassination organization, until the day he had a violent realization that what he was doing was no different from that of the fanatical terrorists whom he’d so righteously hunted. To atone for his sins, he joins a severely secluded and harsh monastic order where he does his best to forget the past. Six years later, in a quest to eliminate Drew, someone kills every monk in his order. But by sheer luck and with the aid of his not-so-dusty skills, Drew escapes.

Now, stuck in an untenable situation of "kill or be killed," Drew’s moral conscience and survival instincts fight an immense battle even as he begins a desperate search for his killer. Not knowing where to turn for help, unable to distinguish friend from foe, Drew feels bewildered as he re-enters a society he’d voluntarily cloistered himself from, rekindles an old love affair and comes across a very secretive but formidable fraternity of monks who are determined to protect the Church at any cost.

David Morrell’s well-plotted story about a reformed assassin with a religious streak is not only intense, thrilling and novel, but it also raises some very choice moral dilemmas. The author touches upon various prickly problems that the world as a whole faces today, and while not providing a solution, takes an unprejudiced look at the various viewpoints. Seen through the eyes of Drew, readers are drawn into a world where, to counteract the growing acts of violence and terrorism, a new order of counter-assassins are brought into play. Are they really so different from the people they’re hunting? That is the highly controversial question that Morrell raises. The Catholic Church, its deep-rooted history and its tacit power are also explored. Combining intricate details about monkhood and religion with fascinating information about weaponry and counter-terrorism training, by intermeshing the past and the present in a seamless narrative, Morrell creates a story full of suspense and questions which is as unforgettable as it is patently absorbing.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Rashmi Srinivas, 2004

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