THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS
by Matthew Peters
Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus’ purported spouse, Mary Magdalene. But what about Jesus’ siblings? What role did they play in early Christianity?
Contemporary Jesuit and renowned religious historian Nicholas Branson is about to find out…and the answer will shake the foundations of the Judeo-Christian world.
It all starts with the murder of a United States Senator in a confessional, and the discovery of a strange religious document among his possessions. At the urging of his FBI friend, Branson joins the investigation. His effort to uncover the truth behind the murder draws him into the search for an eight-hundred-year-old treasure and into a web of ecclesiastical and political intrigue.
Accompanied by a beautiful, sharp-tongued research librarian, Jessica Jones, Branson follows a trail of clues, from the peaks of the awe inspiring French Pyrenees to the caves of war-torn Afghanistan. Along the way, shadowy powerful forces trail the pair, determined to keep safe a secret buried for centuries.
Father Rawlings drained his cup and set it on the table. “What I’m about to tell you may sound ridiculous and melodramatic. At best it will seem the stuff of conspiracy theories and spy novels. However, I assure you it is not.” He fixed Branson with a steely gaze. “As God’s soldiers, we are engaged in a battle, Nicholas. As real as any battle ever waged. The war we fight has raged for centuries, but the battle we fight now could well be the last. And we, you and I, the Roman Catholic Church as a whole, must emerge victorious. Nothing less than the foundations, the stability of the Christian world is at stake.” He smiled again, this time with bitterness.
“Of course it sounds unbelievable, even paranoid, but believe me, it is neither. I choose my words carefully. I don’t make bold assertions I cannot support. I assure you I am telling you exactly how things stand, exactly what is at stake. Before I go on, however, I must demand a pledge from you, your promise to help the Church in the epic struggle in which we currently find ourselves. We require your guarantee, your warrant if you will, that you will use all your energies, resources, and powers to secure the interests of the Church, and that you will let nothing deter you from the task at hand. With this binding agreement comes an inexhaustible supply of resources: anything and everything you deem necessary to accomplish your mission. But I must have your pledge before we proceed.” Rawlings rose from his seat, motioning for Branson to stand as well. “Before you give me your answer, listen again to Jesus’ words: ‘He who is not with me is against me.’ Nicholas Branson, tell me now: Are you with our Lord, or against Him?”
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AN INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW
-What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, and throughout my life, have been I’m good at it. However, it wasn’t until a decade ago that I truly discovered what writing and literature meant to me. I’d had an earlier experience, where the poetry of the Romantics, especially Shelley and Wordsworth, got me through a difficult period. But in 2005 things really bottomed out. An important relationship ended, and it was then that I turned to fiction for hope and inspiration. I truly submerged myself in great literature for the first time in my life, and it redeemed me. Ever since, my heroes and heroines have been writers. I consider myself with a tremendous debt to repay all those who’ve come before, and all those who may turn to literature in their darkest hour.
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
What an interesting question! I think I’d ask Jessica Jones, one of the protagonists in THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS, for a date But more importantly, I’d sit down with Nicholas Branson, the other protagonist, and have a serious discussion with him about the choice he makes at the end of the book. I can’t reveal that here, but let’s just say it helps propel us into the next historical thriller/mystery.
-Give us a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book.
That Jesus had siblings, brothers, and perhaps even a sister. This may be well known to other people. But having been raised Catholic, there was very little discussion on the role James and other siblings may have played in early Christianity. Hence, the book.
-Which of your characters would you go out for pizza with?
I’d definitely go out for pizza with Nick and Jessica, my protagonists. I’d even like to get together with one of the main Cardinals in the book, Dottrina, though I’d make sure to watch my back if I did so.
-If you could go back in time and give your pre-published self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t query an agent or publisher until you have your absolute best work in hand. If you can afford to, hire a content editor and a copy editor to go through your manuscript prior to submitting. It can make all the difference in the world.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I’m game to try anything. Currently, I write literary and genre fiction, so I am willing to give just about any genre a shot. That having been said, I think it would be difficult for me to write erotica without sounding cliché. Come to think of it, I think it’s difficult for anyone to write erotica without sounding cliché. But Anais Nin comes to mind as a successful example.
Dual diagnosed* from an early age, Matthew Peters dropped out of high school at sixteen. He went on to obtain an A.A., a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. He has taught various courses in a variety of disciplines throughout North Carolina. He is committed to increasing the awareness and understanding of the dual diagnosed. In addition to The Brothers’ Keepers, he is the author of Conversations Among Ruins, which features a dual diagnosed protagonist. Currently, he is working on a sequel to The Brothers’ Keepers.
*The term dual diagnosed refers to someone suffering from a mood disorder (e.g., depression) and chemical dependency.
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