In this near-future US, the guerrilla People's Freedom Army occupies the mountains and countryside and fights the Fascist establishment holding the cities--a scenario that first appeared in Cole's strained, self-indulgent war-fantasy/parable Blood Knot (1980). Multi-talented Shaman, the ultimate warrior, hears about the troubles in the US and hightails it home. To saturnine government strongman Kaul, Shaman proposes to carry through Operation Kalitan, a way to completely destroy the PFA by infiltration and deception. Kaul apparently goes for the idea: Shaman is thrown into jail, where he undergoes various ordeals before escaping to join the PFA, to whom he proposes the same operation--promising this time that the government will be destroyed! What's going on? Well, Shaman believes that only he exists, and all he wants is for both sides to fight, and keep fighting--he glories in death and destruction. Thousands of exploded corpses and hideous dismemberments later, the psychologist Friedkin muses that maybe Shaman has been sent as a punishment. Or maybe Shaman is right: he alone exists. Weightless despite the heavy-breathing philosophy, fascinating only to those who wonder what gory unpleasantness Cole will conjure up next: nasty, brutish, and not nearly short enough.