The Abelard Sanction

Title: The Abelard Sanction
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After I wrote The League of Night and Fog, I intended to write a fourth novel in The Brotherhood of the Rose series, so I left a deliberately dangling plot thread (who attacked Saul’s village at the start of Night and Fog?) that would have propelled me into a fourth book. But as Night and Fog was being published in 1987, my fifteen-year-old son Matthew died from the complications of a rare form of bone cancer known as Ewing’s sarcoma. The series is about orphans searching for foster fathers (I was in an orphanage when I was three years old), but suddenly that theme no longer spoke to me. I was now a father trying to fill the void left by my dead son, a theme I explored in several non-Brotherhood of the Rose novels, especially Desperate Measures (1994) and Long Lost (2002), but also in a novella “The Shrine” (1992), which received a Horror Writers Association best-novella award nomination (it’s included in my short-story collection, Black Evening.)

Many years later, I still receive numerous requests, wanting to know how the plot thread would have been secured and asking me to write more about Saul. Finally, to my surprise, he and his wife, Erika, returned to my imagination and wouldn’t leave until I explained why Saul’s village in Israel had been attacked at the start of The League of Night and Fog. Perhaps my readers and I will now find closure. There wasn’t room to include Drew and his friend, Arlene, from The Fraternity of the Stone, but their fans might sense them as the unnamed “friends” at this story’s conclusion. One other element is included from a previous book. After all, what would a Brotherhood of the Rose story be without the Abelard Sanction?

The story was written for an anthology Thriller: Stories To Keep You Up All Night (2006), edited by James Patterson, as part of a fundraiser for International Thriller Writers, an organization that I co-founded with Gayle Lynds. It was then included at the end of the current U.S. trade paperback of The League of Night and Fog (Ballantine Books, 2009). It’s also in the e-book editions of that novel and in an audio collection from Brilliance.