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Brotherhood of the Rose & The Fraternity of the Stone

I decided to review these two books with “The X of the Y” titles together, even though both were good and memorable enough to stand separately. Morrell is better known as the writer of First Blood, the Rambo story. He’s also a good suspense and spy writer in the tradition that includes all the training sequences as part of the story

One of these books has to do with an assassin/agent who leaves the trade and lives in a monastery with no human contact for six years. Then the bad guys find him and all hell breaks loose. The other story has to do with two brother agent/assassins who get a series of bad assignments, decide to leave the craft, get tracked down by the bad guys and all hell breaks loose. They sound a bit formulaic but they’re really not. There are compelling characters, interesting though infrequent female characters, and enough plot twists to keep you involved in the book though not so many you get nauseated.

It’s hard to get over the cheesy covers and the somewhat gimmicky historical vignettes that open these books, but worth delving in to if you can get beyond that.