Dick's last novel was completed in 1981 and published posthumously the following year. It is one of his finest achievements, and a triumphant return to realistic, mainstream writing, albeit with fantastic elements. Many fascinating conversations on philosophy, theology, and literature become the central focus of the book, as opposed to diversions from the plot. The play of ideas is compelling because it emanates from the life-and-death concerns of the characters, whose believability and humanity are perhaps greater than anywhere in Dick's writing. The book is loosely based on the life of Episcopal Bishop James A. Pike, whom Dick knew. Like Pike, Bishop Timothy Archer is a seeker for truth who questions the Church's doctrine, favoring instead a direct revelation. Archer becomes embroiled in the occult when all manner of table-tappings and stopped clocks are taken as signals from his son Jeff, who committed suicide (like Pike's son in real life). The real redeeming center of the novel is its narrator, the bishop's daughter-in-law Angel Archer. Hers is a story of spiritual transformation and freedom from bitterness and self-absorption. The resolution is not one of certainty about the mysteries of the afterlife or of the higher realities around us, but of hope and trust in the possibilities of redemption no matter where we find ourselves in the lower realms of experience.