ANGELS IN A HARSH WORLD by Don Bradley

ANGELS IN A HARSH WORLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An eccentric theosophical novel that marries bloody-pulp plotting to sentimental theologizing † la The Celestine Prophecy. There's an audience? It's just getting started. Bradley will embark on a national tour and now has a film option, while his company, Mountaintop Entertainment, already has its head in the clouds for a December 1998 release. Meantime, this is one virtual eggnog of a novel, sliding from a Capraesque It's a Wonderful Life opening into the gray dismals of Paul Bowles's The Sheltering Sky into a trough of Madame Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine, Maugham's The Razor's Edge, and a climax not so distant from Indiana Jones versus Nazi occultists as white magic fights black magic. Back in 1932, Haley Olsten, 22, the daughter of a Freemason in Boston who reads Bishop Leadbeater's Invisible Helpers for serious information about nature's troublesome fundamentals and angelic guidance for her mortal life, decides to accompany her best friend Ann to India, where Ann's fiancÇ Reginald, a British officer, has fallen ill and wants to marry quickly. Though a godsend in looks, with eyes that might melt steel, Haley is beset off and on by a seemingly genetic depression. In India, she loses her head over the extremely rich, philanthropic, high-born Britisher David Hampton. But when David must leave her for three months on business, Haley is caught off-guard by a maharajah--a ``black'' magician who walls her up, then forcibly, sadistically addicts her to heroin. A ``good'' Indian next helps her to escape, but he himself falls into a tiger trap while Ann--after weeks spent wandering without food in the jungle and the desert--is rescued by J., a Hindu of the Secret Brotherhood. Haley devotes three years of her life to the company of J. as they roam to various Tibetan monasteries, getting theosophized like crazy. She's then sent to Berlin to fight Hitler's occultists in a head-to-head blowout. Fantastic. Awesome. Strangely compelling as goofy moments interrupt flying brain matter and other battle horrors. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-399-14359-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1998