A real curio--probably the only Zen novel of nuclear intrigue you're ever likely to read. Berkeley scientist-meditator Jack Malloy, gone AWOL from a Bombay physics conference in disillusionment over the news that India is about to explode its first atomic bomb, finds himself summoned to the mountains of Tibet by Lama Dorje, who doesn't use mail or phone to call people. After a misunderstanding leads Jack to kill the guide Dorje had sent to conduct him to Inner Dolpo--an act of violence that is coincidental with the detonation of the Indian bomb--he then spends several weeks with Doric. Back in Katmandu afterward, Jack feels mysteriously called to escort Wilson--a likely CIA agent interested in the military potential of psychic control--to Dorje's cave in Twilight Mountain, and to take Tsering, his Marxist mistress, and lapsed monk Gonpo along with him. It isn't until after a long-foreseen clash with Chinese soldiers and another helping of atomic energy decimate his party, and until after the saintly Doric's been guiding Jack away from the cave for three days, that he realizes he's been chosen to carry Dorje's mantra--a unified theory linking quantum mechanics to Zen--to the West in the hope of averting further nuclear holocaust. Since Wilkins (Vanishing, King Season) consistently uses action clichÃ‰s to undermine any faith in action, those thriller, readers most likely to be drawn to this story are also the most likely to be provoked--or infuriated--by it. For the uninitiated, on the other hand, this may just read more like Quantum Stew.