Powers's fourth novel centers on the activities in the pediatrics ward of a Los Angeles hospital. The protagonist physician tries to help the various children with rare and often fatal diseases to cope. References to the Children's Crusade and other historical events that crushed children and their wishes and futures are woven into the story; at the climax, the kids on the ward stage a production of the Pied Piper. This is perhaps Powers's darkest, most despairing novel, with the usual intellectual provocations and wordplay one finds in his novels.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus