Tightly packed, substantially written, a novel based on the continual history of wars between Jew and Roman. Gauged for the ThreeCities or the I. Claudius market -- or, to turn back, the Quo Vadis market, but it seems, to this reader at least, to miss fire, to lack the vital spark that carries one eagerly through over four hundred pages of wars, tortures, injustices, political rottenness, persecution. It begins with the wise and peace-loving Yokai of Tiberias seeking the son who, it is rumored, has joined the rebels. It ends with a festival held in the son's honor when, an old man, he returns to his people. And always, behind Simeon's pretense of sacrifice, his love of God, his hatred of Rome, his dreams of personal perfection were closely intertwined with his ambition to be a leader. The market -- if there is one you can reach -- is largely Jewish.