November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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The Fellowship/Book Review



A Stunning Brew of Shadow Operatives,

Double Agents, Renegade Scientists

and Secret Societies…

A Review of William Tyree’s The Fellowship

by Matthew Hoffman

In The Fellowship, author William Tyree infuses the variety of literary work often described as a “page-turner” with a smart and stunning brew of shadowy operatives, double agents, renegade scientists, secret societies, historical precedent and globe-hopping action that is both immensely entertaining and startlingly plausible.  Tyree’s fiction picks up where his previous novel (Line of Succession, also a great read) left off and places the reader in a world where the United States is recovering from an attempted coup in which a series of coordinated terror attacks have nearly toppled the U.S. government.  The body count of those in line for the position of “leader of the free world” is high, and sitting in the White House, thanks to the heroics of intelligence operative Blake Carver, is President Eva Hudson, former Secretary of the Treasury.

Carver is on exile from field work while congressional hearings attempt to get to the bottom of just what has happened and who was involved.  Carver, laying low and confined to deskwork is part of a team monitoring Operation Crossbow; a project ostensibly designed to track the involvement of Adrian Zhu, a brilliant bio-engineer, and his involvement in any military projects. But Crossbow has spun out of control.  Zhu, last seen attending the opera in Rome has disappeared into an armored vehicle and been involved in a shoot-out that has left a number of fatalities and a tantalizing clue: An octagon-shaped piece of red silk inscribed with a Latin phrase translated roughly as “Prepared for pain and torment, in God’s name.”

Shortly after Zhu vanishes, events involving high-ranking political figures subjected to a rather grisly form of torture hearkening back to the Inquisition, begin to unfold in other parts of the United States and Europe.  Thus begins an adventure that compels the suits in the Intelligence Agency to release Carver back into the field to unravel a byzantine tapestry involving religious zealots, holy relics, lethal nanotechnology, reanimating biotechnology and a metaphysical obsession and rivalry of two former members of the Third Reich that leads to a heart-pounding showdown in the bowels of Vatican City.

Intrigued?  I hope so, but it would be a disservice to Mr. Tyree’s wonderfully ornate construction to reveal too much of the storyline.  Similarly, it would be unfair to the reader to compromise the thrill and pleasure of untangling the thread of the underlying mystery that motivates the various factions commanded by the fascinating characters who populate the world of The Fellowship.

Speaking of these characters, Mr. Tyree has created a magnificent anchor to his novels in the personage of Blake Carver.  Neither a martini-quaffing, suave, super spy like Bond, nor a whisky slugging loner out of Chandler or Cain, Carver is a rock-solid, clean-shaven, lapsed-Mormon whose psychological tic is a hyperthymesia, or photographic recall of all that he has experienced. (A word one will no doubt find useful for casually dropping at the next cocktail party or chance encounter with Oliver Sacks.)  In addition to the book’s engrossing dramatis personae replete with political functionaries, fugitive hackers, double agents and religious fanatics (among others) The Fellowship spirits the reader on a journey to a fascinating exploration of the trajectories of two characters critical to the action of the story, Heinz Lang and Sebastian Wolf.  In a fascinating detour from the current day action, The Fellowship chronicles Wolf and Lang’s years as Reich School cadets and Tyree displays a genius for introducing an unsettling ambiguity into these characters.  The novel leads the reader to a climax and denouement that is entirely satisfying, yet which intimates a possible, and for this reader, much-wished-for sequel.

The Fellowship
William Tyree
Paperback: 526 pages
8 x 5.2 x 1.2 inches
Massive Publishing, 2013 


About the Reviewer:

Matthew Hoffman co-wrote the screenplay for the hybrid-documentary “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” and he also researched and authored for Metrobooks the first published mass-market biography on legendary crooner Tony Bennett. The musical, “Presidential Suite,” which he co-authored will receive its world premier in Los Angeles this September with an exclusive five-week run.