Dr. Cronin himself appears in this new novel which might well be one of his old novels, taking place in the next best of both possible worlds--spiritual and physical, ancient (""so it befell"") and modern (would you believe a Canon saying ""the world of today is fucking its way to hell""). The man in the middle is Desmonde Fitzgerald whom A.J., from poorer beginnings, first met at a Jesuit school where one of the fathers observed ""a soft spot in that apple."" The soft spot becomes apparent when Desmonde returns as a young priest to his native Ireland, Kilbarrack, under the above Canon, and when he first falls idyllically in love with a Madame Donovan, patroness of the Church, and less idyllically with her niece--a common slut who traps him in the unfortunate marriage which costs him the Church. A.J. is there with a helping hand after he finds Desmonde singing in a pub, implements his way to Hollywood where he's in as full voice as John McCormack before he heads out toward India to do good and end up possibly better. A sentimental story, both premeditated and foreordained.