They're behind bars, but that won't stop them committing crimes.
And it won't keep them safe, either.
Trumble is a minimum security federal prison, home to drug dealers, bank robbers, swindlers, embezzlers, tax evaders - and three former judges who call themselves The Brethren.
The Brethren meet each day in the law library, where they spend hours writing letters. They're fine-tuning a mail scam, and it's starting to pay big. The money is pouring in.
But when their little scam goes awry and ensnares the wrong victim, a powerful man on the outside, they realise they're in trouble. Because this man has dangerous friends, and just as the prison failed to protect society from the Brethren, it won't protect them from their victims...
‘A master at the art of deft characterisation and the skilful delivery of hair-raising crescendos' – Irish Independent
'John Grisham is the master of legal fiction' – Jodi Picoult
'The best thriller writer alive' – Ken Follett
‘John Grisham has perfected the art of cooking up convincing, fast-paced thrillers’ – Telegraph
‘Grisham is a superb, instinctive storyteller’ – The Times
‘Grisham's storytelling genius reminds us that when it comes to legal drama, the master is in a league of his own.’ – Daily Record
‘Masterful – when Grisham gets in the courtroom he lets rip, drawing scenes so real they're not just alive, they're pulsating’ – Mirror
‘A giant of the thriller genre’ – TimeOut
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.