Girzone is a retired Catholic priest who has written a treacly homespun fable about the Second Coming of Christ. The little town of Auburn is all abuzz trying to figure out the identity of Joshua, a humble woodcarver who has moved to a cottage on the edge of town and makes his living fashioning lamps and mailboxes and little animals for children. When the simple folk approach Joshua, he turns out to be quite friendly--he likes to drink wine and break bread with them, and talk mysteriously about God. He also visits the churches and synagogues around Auburn, upsetting some of the clergymen (especially the snooty Episcopalian, Father Darby) with his views on the rigidity and historical falseness of organized religion. No one is saying it out loud. . .but there seems to be something special about this guy. And then he goes and cures the blind and heals the sick (""Why are you carrying me, Mama? I can walk"") and even begins appearing on television. The Catholic Church is so fed up with this audacity that it peremptorily summons Joshua to Rome, where he arrives after an ocean voyage (during which he raises a cabin boy from the dead and stops a storm at sea). He's finally censured by a group of cardinals for his arrogance, but when his friends arrive to tell him the news, Joshua has disappeared, leaving only a pair of old sandals and a couple of ancient Roman coins behind. Joshua is intended to be a humble, quietly wise type of guy, but unfortunately comes across like an earnest, all-too-with-it young parish priest, of the kind that makes one long for the likes of Fighting Father Duffy, or Bing Crosby in The Bells of St. Mary's In all, a well-intended, but disappointingly unoriginal novel.