Uris takes on a subject bigger than the Irish (Trinity, 1976, and Redemption, 1995), the Jews (Exodus, 1958, and Mitla Pass, 1988), or the Arabs (The Haj, 1984). This time, it’s Man himself, of whom Emerson says, “Man is a god in ruins . . . Infancy is the perpetual Messiah, which comes into the arms of fallen men, and pleads with them to return to paradise.” The Messiah here, a Jewish orphan adopted and raised by a Catholic family, is the great liberal Quinn Patrick O’Connell, now at 60 governor of Colorado and Democratic candidate for president. Sloganeering about the nation’s Moral Imperative, O—Connell has grand plans for the rehabilitation of ruined mankind through racial harmony. But he also has problems, including vile barbs from the incumbent president and rival messiah, black-hearted Thornton Tomtree. The time-span covers the last week before the election in 2008, with long flashbacks to WWII and forward. Will Quinn follow in the footsteps of JFK as our second Catholic president? And what is the terrible scandal in his past that may undermine his hopes? If elected, can he rise above riots and bomb-throwing, the blows from armed zealots and rigid fundamentalists whose hatreds divide the nation? Uris himself offers a rather woozy moral message bordering on bombast in a novel that may widen his audience and boost sales, but hardly matches the author’s messianic ambitions.