Part teachings from the world's religions. Part New Age mysticism. Part The Little Prince. Wholly uninspiring. Clarion, the hero of this first novel, is a special person. Readers first encounter him as an old man, planting and tenderly nursing a garden on a desert mountain. When unprecedented rains fall and the desert blooms under his ministrations, people are drawn from all over to help, to marvel, and to learn. From earliest age, Clarion had been marked for greatness. After his father mysteriously abandons the boy and his mother, the lad gets wanderlust. When his mother tells him that he doesn't have to go to school anymore because the only power others have over us is power we give them, Clarion sets out in search of his father. He first encounters Samara, a woman who rescues him in a repetition of the story of the Good Samaritan. She teaches him that everything is possible if one loves and learns to communicate. She then passes him on to Jing, a Taoist from whom he learns to go with the flow of nature. In turn, Jing commends him to Baba, a Hindu master who gives him the lessons of self-abnegation and contemplation of the infinite. When Clarion is finally ready, Baba points him toward his father. Clarion discovers his deadbeat dad living as a kind of Buddhist monk. From this less than praiseworthy parent, Clarion learns to live in the ""now."" The family is reunited without any hard feelings. The ultimate answer, he is told, is found in relationships with others. At once pretentious and simpleminded, the book was inspired by A Course in Miracles. Only the most naÃ¯ve seekers and devotees will be attracted to what is essentially a proselytizing tract in the guise of fiction.