While heaven must be stormed and knowledge wrested from Death or torn from the teeth of angels, the living are terribly scarred in this guided dream, a novel less grounded than the author's After Silence (1993). In Sardinia, Death comes in dream after lucid dream to Ian McGann. Death, unable to stand Ian's muddled questions and stupidities, gives him a chest scar, a palm scar, and worse. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Wyatt Leonard, a gay TV host who lives with the widowed Sophie Chapman, is dying of leukemia when he meets Death in a novelty store and gets some edged warnings. After her brother Jesse disappears in Vienna, Sophie dragoons the dying Wyatt to go there with her. Already residing in Vienna is actress Arlen Ford, whose early retirement from the screen has been pleasantly interrupted by a romance with war correspondent/photographer Leland Zivic, a meld of Robert Capa, Indiana Jones, and St. Francis of Assisi. Sophie's lost brother turns out to have been having Death dreams of his own and has gone off in pursuit of Ian McGann. Now back in Vienna, Jesse confers with Wyatt and exchanges visions with him. Then, in a pastry shop, Wyatt runs into Emmy Marhoun, a New York editor who died three years earlier after being kicked by a horse. Horribly, she doesn't know that she's dead: ``Hell for her was walking around in life almost alive but not knowing the difference anymore.'' But matters are not what they seem for Wyatt, Ian, Arlen, and Jesse. It turns out that Leland is Death, just toying with Arlen until she bores him, at which point he reveals to her not only her entire life but also the thoughts of others about her. Another draft may have deepened Death into a stronger figure able to draw richer responses from Arlen and Wyatt. But, although a bit thin, this is Carroll's fearless best since going mainstream.