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The approaching millennium looms large in Monteleone's latest, which reprises the theme of ordinary people endowed with miraculous powers that hallmarked his Bram Stoker Award-winning novel, Blood of the Lamb (1992). After surviving a plane crash in the Florida Everglades, Maryland senator and Republican presidential hopeful Thomas Flanagan finds himself able to raise the newly dead by a laying-on of hands. Under the care of nurturing physician Estela Barrero, the corrupt Flanagan undergoes a spiritual transformation, inspiring him to save a cancer victim and to publicly resurrect his son after a fatal football injury. Before he can turn his powers to greater good, however, he is exploited by power brokers in Washington and investigated by the Vatican Secret Service, whose Special Commission on Miracles is wary of false prophets eager to capitalize on millennial fever. All the while, Flanagan is plagued by visions of a burning man who foretells his destiny but frightens him with the suspicion that he is going insane. Monteleone raises interesting questions regarding personal redemption and the power of faith but reduces them to fancy ornaments hanging on a brisk and often predictable thriller that culminates in Flanagan and Barrero's cross-country flight from political enemies. Although the corrupt American political system he depicts is straight out of a Frank Capra movie, it provides the perfect godless counterpart to a national spiritual awakening that builds throughout the tale. Slick and calculated, this novel pushes all the right emotional buttons and whets the appetite for the sequel set up by its inconclusive ending.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.