A surreal fantasy of exasperating self-importance, only occasionally redeemed by a flash of wit or pungency. The scene shifts abruptly among times and places: Mexico, England, ancient Mesopotamia, modern Hungary, and a mysterious house in a nameless forest where three supernatural triumvirs quarrel over the uses of unknown powers. Various threatening and encouraging forces surround an ancient Solomonic ""King of the Jews"" who is also apparently identified with one of the triumvirs and with Zacharias, a forlorn small boy growing up in a Hungarian orphanage. The largest single chunk of the book is occupied with Zacharias' unwitting preparation for his role as the cabalistic king. Despite much portentous manipulation of lofty symbols, this is an extraordinarily vapid and tedious exercise.