Within the sour and familiar model--set in a small Latin American country--of a revolution gone to the bad, first-novelist Parks chronicles the corruptive influences causing the decline and fall of a charismatic leader, his deified Evita-style wife, and the activist priest who had loved them both. Parks has political points to score (particularly concerning unsavory dealings among international money men in Washington and even the Vatican), but her characters are poster-flat and curiously bloodless. Fleeing the persecution of dictator Buiztas, four natives of the small mountainous Latin American country of Mayapan eventually cross paths at Columbia University in New York: sinewy, handsome Ferdinando Lorca; the priest Battiste Tommassi; caustic aging poet Porferio Cheruna; and the lovely Camila, Who at 16 becomes the mistress of the poet and immaculate angelina to the priest, bound as she is by ""the shameful necessities of love."" But like Tommassi, Camila will be swept up in Lorca's vision of revolution, it is her phone call to a German industrialist after her marriage to Lorca that buys the revolution in Mayapan: ""Just guarantee your cooperation in Mayapanian investment. . .and our country is yours."" Mayapan's revolution is easily accomplished with a little help from such friends, and with the radiant Camila by his side, Lorca begins his idealist's reforms. But eventually the soul of the revolution is sold in deals, and there's a flow of money to and from European laundries. There's an initially booming economy, while near-goddess Camila appears to worshipful crowds. At the close, there are tortures, betrayals, disillusionment, and Camila, the broken-blossom heroine, is dying of cancer. In her last days she travels into the jungle to hear from a wise man an apocalyptic vision of the world's fiery end, while Tommassi in the Vatican remembers the woman he loved, and remembers Lorca, whom he helped destroy. A shrill political novel in which the characters dim beside the occasionally stimulating scrutiny of the international arms and money trade.