An inventive but slightly tone-deaf novel about the Roman pantheon’s attempt to return to power in modern America.
Alex Webster is struggling in a way that only members of the American upper class can understand. After spending several years making loads of money as an Ã¼ber-successful consultant for a multi-national corporation, Alex is uninspired and unfulfilled. Drowning in a sea of anomie (and his parents’ money), he leaves corporate America to find himself–and his next business venture. But Alex is not your run-of-the-mill young executive; his interests and talents make him almost entirely unique in the business world–he’s what you could call a religion consultant. Armed with a doctorate in religious studies, he applies business solutions to religious institutions, and he has caught the eye of J.J. Jones, a secretive venture capitalist interested in Alex’s skills. But Jones is not just any maverick investor, but Jupiter, the king of the gods of ancient Rome. Bored after nearly 2,000 years of â€œretirement,” Jupiter is planning his return to earth’s religious arena, and he wants Alex to help him stage a sort of corporate takeover in the realm of human spirituality. And he wants to bring the old gang–Juno, Cupid and the rest–along for the ride. But the unlikely duo quickly discovers that rejuvenating an ancient religion on a modern business model isn’t quite as easy as they thought. Dent offers an innovative tale, but it suffers–and occasionally flounders–under the weight of an inconsistent tone. Is the book pure farce, or a biting critique of modern Judeo-Christian values? Is it a comedy or a stark condemnation of the commercialism of contemporary religiosity? Also distracting is Dent’s penchant for mistaking extravagant descriptions of insignificant details–from single-serving coffee bags to hamburgers–for real stylistic depth.
A clever effort, but far from divine.