I asked Peters if he might share a little about the themes prominent in the story, and he offered some insight into the social and political commentary threaded throughout the work.
Two major themes run throughout The Brothers’ Keepers. The first is that we need to be careful of accepting doctrine in a wholesale manner—regardless of who is force-feeding it to us. What we’ve always believed to be true isn’t necessarily the whole story, or even part of it. In The Republic Plato talks about the concept of a noble lie, which is a story put forth by the political and religious elite in order to keep harmony in society. The Brothers’ Keepers is essentially a meditation on whether the Judeo-Christian tradition is one of these noble lies. Question what you are told is a concise way of stating this theme.
Secondly, the book cautions that just because someone has found the “truth” of a situation, doesn’t mean that this truth should be revealed. For sometimes, the truth is more dangerous than the lie it exposes. At the end of the book, Branson is faced with a tremendous decision, involving whether to reveal or keep hidden the contents of an ancient treasure. His conflict is between knowing the “truth,” and revealing the “truth,” the latter of which might hurt society more than help it.
About the novel:
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.
The bus moved up Viadotto and turned right onto Rene. Smells of fried food and burning incense wafted through the open windows of the bus. A left turn brought them to Emilia, past white stone buildings, statues, and street vendors, past the fountains toward the heart of Pisa. The further north they went, the closer they came to the Arno, where a vast migration of darkly-clad figures moved in the opposite direction, southeast toward Rome. It was a black exodus of grief, one of almost unreal proportions; swarms of people with lowered heads and bent postures, heading desperately, slowly, inexorably toward a common ill-fated destination. The dark edges of the black clothes stood out in stark contrast to the gray day that blurred the corners of buildings and churches. Rain fell, blended with human tears, and smudged the scene like a charcoal sketch. Open, dark umbrellas resembled the conical piles of volcanic ash upon which the country was built. On that gray morning Pisa wore a death-mask.
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.
For more about Matthew Peters and his work, check out his website, blog, Twitter page or Facebook author page. His book is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and MuseItUp Publishing.