THE LAST DAY by Glenn Kleier


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 An impressively imagined debut offers a devilishly cunning speculation on how a sinful world might greet news of a messiah's appearance come the millennium. Jerusalem-based WNN-TV correspondent John Feldman gets appreciably more than he ever bargained for on New Year's Eve, 1999. Expecting to provide only cursory coverage of local observances, the journalist and his cameraman, Breck Hunter, wind up investigating the mysterious destruction of a hush-hush Israel Defense Force (IDF) lab in the Negev Desert. The sole survivor of this cataclysm is an ethereal young woman called Jeza, whom millennarian groups throughout the world soon hail as their long- awaited redeemer. Spouting gnomic parables, citing a gospel known as Apotheosis (from the so-called ``Newest'' Testament), and performing the occasional miracle, the arriviste divinity travels the holy lands of the Middle East, urging ever larger congregations of Christians, Jews, and Muslims to forsake the distractive trappings of formal liturgies. With logistical assistance from Feldman's ratings-obsessed network, the deity is soon able to present her provocative message (fiercely resisted by established religions) to a wider world from forums in Salt Lake City, the Vatican, and Washington. Meanwhile, word leaks out that the IDF facility was engaged in genetic engineering projects, which could make Jeza a robot with artificial intelligence of a very high order rather than anyone's savior. During the Lenten season, hopes for peace on earth evanesce as Armageddon-scale violence racks key venues, and the Antichrist or True Prophetess is martyred at the close of a Good Friday sermon before the Wailing Wall. While cooler heads in Rome ponder, IDF renegades, die-hard ecclesiastics, and others with apocalyptic axes to grind vie to ensure--or abort- -Jeza's resurrection on Easter morning. Deliciously wicked entertainment that combines biotech with theological arcana to mount an effective (and often offensive) assault upon churches militant, affluent, and complacent. (TV rights to Columbia/Tri-Star)

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1997
ISBN: 0-446-52285-6
Page count: 480pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997


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