Religion and UFOs are fodder for an unconvincing jeremiad by Pulitzer Prizewinning syndicated columnist Anderson (The Japan Conspiracy, 1993, etc.). The human race has been deemed a failure by its intergalactic peers. One alien visits Washington, D.C., in 1999, hoping to warn the US President that the planet will soon be ``scrubbed'' of all sentient beings. After he is turned away from the White House, a gang member nicknamed Ghost knocks him out, steals his space suit and the rock he carries, and leaves him for dead. Heiress Serena Blake finds the alien with the homeless while doing volunteer work on the mall and, feeling an unexplainable affinity for this odd-looking man, names him Victor and takes him home. Ghost, hoping to get more alien devices (the ones he has have given him extraordinary persuasive powers), searches for him. Victor is also sought by Harry Lauter, a soap-box preacher who knows that the Dead Sea Scrolls predict alien visitation, and by a government agency so secret that it is unnamed. The standard MO of the agency is to infiltrate tabloids with absurd UFO stories so that actual abductees will come forward with their stories, but now it watches Harry, chases Ghost, and abducts everyone who has come in contact with Victor. They all learn of Victor's whereabouts when, through various contrivances, they spot Serena and Victor's photo in the society pages. Susan Hill, a Washington Times intern, finds Serena and Victor and enlists the help of her boss, syndicated columnist Mick Aaronson. The human race could be redeemed--if only the heroes can outwit vindictive government agents and urban youths. Victor convinces Mick to write columns that will rekindle the American spirit because, after all, if America is saved, the world is saved. A cautinary tale that adds nothing edifying to the trendy, sensationalist subject of UFOs except Anderson's own reductive views on contemporary societal ills.