The Brotherhood of the Rose is a special book for David Morrell. It was his first New York Times bestseller. Later, it was the basis for an NBC miniseries. The "rose" in the title refers to the ancient symbol of secrecy as depicted in Greek mythology. Clandestine councils used to meet with a rose dangling above them and vowed not to divulge what was said sub rosa, under the rose. The "brotherhood" refers to two young men, Saul and Chris, who were raised in an orphanage and eventually recruited into the CIA by a man who acted as their foster father. Having spent time in an orphanage himself, Morrell readily identified with the main characters.
When Brotherhood was completed, Morrell so missed its world that he wrote a similarly titled thriller, The Fraternity of the Stone, in which he introduced a comparable character, Drew MacLane. Still hooked on the theme of orphans and foster fathers (Morrell thinks of this as self-psychoanalysis), he wrote The League of Night and Fog in which Saul from the first thriller meets Drew from the second. Night and Fog is thus a double sequel that is also the end of a trilogy. Morrell intended to write a further thriller in the series and left a deliberately dangling plot thread that was supposed to propel him into a fourth book. But his fifteen-year-old son, Matthew, died from complications of a rare form of bone cancer known as Ewing's sarcoma. Suddenly, the theme of orphans searching for foster fathers no longer spoke to his psyche. Morrell was now a father trying to fill the void left by a son, a theme later explored in several non-Brotherhood novels, especially Desperate Measures and Long Lost.
These many years later, Morrell still receives a couple of requests a week, wanting to know how the plot thread would have been secured and asking him to write more about Saul. When this anthology was planned, Morrell was specifically asked about a new Brotherhood story. He resisted, not wanting to go back to those dark days. But Saul and his wife, Erika, returned to his imagination and refused to leave. The plot thread-an unexplained attack on Saul's village-has been tied. Perhaps both Morrell and his readers will now find closure. There wasn't room to include Drew and his friend, Arlene, but fans will sense them, unnamed, in the background.
One other element is included, too-for what would a Brotherhood story be without the Abelard sanction?