The Brotherhood by Frank Stopa

The Brotherhood
Frank Stopa
CreateSpace (2010)
ISBN 9781451510683
Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views (09/10)

 

“The Brotherhood” has just about everything that could make for a great movie: a good and noble businessman-turned-hostage, heroic cops working the case, and evil terrorists determined to save their way of life at any cost, but certain things that would be bearable on the screen are just irritating on the page.

David Hamilton is a businessman with a vision; a vision of uniting the Middle East with an ultra-fast optical laser communication network. Unfortunately, not everyone shares Hamilton’s dream of unity and he winds up as a hostage after his executive staff is murdered by jihad terrorists.

Hamilton’s role as a hostage is short-lived when an unexpected blizzard results in a catastrophic accident that leaves all but Hamilton and one terrorist dead. The surviving terrorist, Mustafa, is badly injured and unable to walk so he and his former hostage must form an alliance to survive in the harsh winter elements they find themselves stranded in.

Mr. Stopa undertook a risky venture in an attempt to turn a terrorist into a character we feel sympathy for. Surprisingly, his goal was a success. Mustafa is portrayed mostly as a gullible young man who had the misfortune of falling under the sway of some very bad people. Deep down inside, he is not a violent man and it’s impossible to view him as a bad guy.

I did have a couple of problems with the story, though. Mr. Stopa frequently broke the writer’s rule of ‘show, don’t tell’ and missed out on opportunities to let us feel even closer to the characters. I would have preferred to see action and emotion in certain incidents, instead of simply being told point-blank what a certain character was feeling at any given time. The story also hit a couple of bumps because Mustafa’s past is re-told numerous times. While it’s interesting to see how this intelligent, young man wound up as terrorist, it’s not a tale that needs to be rehashed. I was also less than thrilled with pages and pages of interrupted dialogue between Hamilton and Mustafa discussing the merits of Western culture versus Middle Eastern culture.

Aside from the above issues, “The Brotherhood” is an adventure filled with both interesting characters and a plot that moves at a decent pace. The realistic settings and true-to-life character motivations make for an entertaining and believable story.

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