Empty your mind for this summer's chronicle of inter-gnostic ecumenicity set against the placid lake scenery of Ascona--there's more theological implication than artistry at work here. The theme, notes sociologist Berger in a postscript, ""could be described as the apparent inevitability of some sort of Christianity."" Between the two of them and a bottle of brandy, narrator Jacob Van Buren, who's just generally fascinated by religion and occultism, and Raymond Dell, half skeptical gigolo and half angel (cf., Berger's 1969 non-fiction inquiry into A Rumor of Angels), derive ""the argument from hell""--if evil (the murder of children) exists, then hell must exist. For the demonic climax scene, there just happens to be a Nazi war criminal hanging around the villa to give Dell an opportunity to assume the Father's mantle and exercise the protocol of damnation. A heavy supernatural smorgasbord for seekers after mystic Truth.