To Joseph Fisher and his older sister Ruth, the game (a form of dungeons and dragons) is rehearsal for tough, conscientious choices in real life; to Nick, when he first joins them in an episode of "Jezebel," real life is just another game where dirty tricks are the accepted norm. Nick's brother Terry, member of a rough motorcycle gang, has set up Nick's visits to the Fishers' remote home and shop to get information for a burglary. Unaware of this plan, Nick agrees to play Jezebel--although he is at first contemptuous when the dice decree that his character will lack strength and bravery while excelling in faith and virtue. But Ruth gives the game such drama and intensity that he is caught up in it, becoming--though he doesn't himself realize it--an admirer of the Fishers' care for what is right, especially as demonstrated in their moral standards for even their little children; in contrast, Nick's parents deal with problems (like Terry's illegal activities) by pretending they don't exist. Still, lured by Terry's long-revered gang, Nick betrays his new friends and is present when the shop is burned. Joseph is also there; and in the events that follow, Ruth uses Jezebel to lead both boys to responsible decisions concerning the roles they have played. Again, as in Roscoe's Leap (1987), Cross has written a tightly plotted, highly dramatic novel exploring family relationships and the meaning of responsibility; here, the fact that the people involved are otherwise ordinary lends immediacy to the extraordinary events. Spellbinding.