An often exciting but in general ponderous philosophical novel which moves majestically sideways through an atmosphere of mal de siecle and Last Hour dialectic. The swish of a rocket, set off in celebration of Bastille Day in France 195-, introduces fragment by fragment a group of splintered intellectuals before the Deluge, the inevitable conquest by the Commonwealth of Freedom Loving Peoples (R-ss--). There is old M. Anatole, relic of a lusty past, dreaming of a continuity with the future, yet resignedly regarding the advent of the ""Neaderthal"", the Neaderthal himself, Fedka Nikintin, cultural attache at the Commonwealth Embassy, dedicated to the mission of the New Era for which his parents had died and for which he had lived; Hydie, the American girl, cast off from the spiritual security in the absolute dogmas of the Catholic Church, who believes she has found the answer in Fedka's tight-lipped conviction, but who attempts in vain to kill him for his rejection of herself and humanity; the three Nevermores -- refugee Boris who becomes insane, Vardi, snuffed out on a confident return to Russia, and Julien, clinging to his right to be disillusioned; Leontiev -Hero of the People who lost Truth too early to begin again, who after leaving the Commonwealth, collapses without a vocation. At the close of the book the tragic party clatters in carriages through the cemetery for M. Anatole's funeral- not knowing, waiting, hoping, fearing, despairing. Pin point satire, Darkness at Noon immediacy and a mighty gloom. Sales within name market.