Tor, Aug 2002, 24.95, 384 pp.
Out of control womanizer Vincent Ettrich recently died, but in spite of his many women no one truly mourns his passing. However, ironically the philandering Vincent is a key player in the grand cosmic scheme. Thus, he is brought back to life to perform a key role that will enable the great plan to occur. He had left behind besides a wife, a pregnant lover. That unborn child is the critical person in the universe to insure the future goes according to the grand plan.
Though the fetus Anjo needs his mother Isabelle, Vincent is to teach his offspring what he has learned from his death. The problem is Vincent remembers nothing of his death or what it is he should be teaching his son. If he fails to do his part of the mission, Anjo will lack the knowledge needed to insure implementation of the plan leading to a failed future yet Vincent cannot accept that he died and came back.
When it comes to way out fantasy where readers peeping through the looking glass at death see a certain signpost ahead, it means Jonathan Carroll. His latest spin is all over the place as the story line is not linear in any sense with strange flashbacks that make the time continuum seem concentrically circular. Yet somehow the talented Mr. Carroll provides an insightful, weird, but entertainingly different perceptive on life, death, and the free will vs. pre-determinism debate that is not for everyone except those fans who want something unusual in their novels.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner