A peculiar yet fairly persuasive fantasy from the Canadian author of Passion Play (a 1993 paperback) whose premise is that magic started to seep back into the world after WW II. Those capable of working magic are known as ``angels.'' But there is, of course, a downside: Horrible, blood-thirsty ``minotaurs'' appear spontaneously in parts of town and must be shot by police. Dante Ratkay is an embryonic angel afraid to allow his powers to blossom, while his dark shadow of a brother, Jet, is convinced that someone stole hisJet'ssoul when he was a baby. With Jet and sister Sarah, Dante discovers a corpse in his room; what's worse, it's his own! Using the surgical tools of their pathologist father, the three dissect the cadaver in the boathouseonly to uncover a huge and evidently terminal cancer. Is Dante fated to die in a few days? Well, the close-knit Ratkay family harbors any number of dark secrets: Jet's resentful boyhood rivalry with his brother apparently involved several attempts to kill Dante. Eight years ago, Sarah had a miscarriage, and now she's haunted by the ghost of an eight-year-old girl. Aunt Sophie's husband, Pendleton, gambled with a devil's Sending for the soul of Sophie's unborn child, and lost; Pendleton drowned himself, while the child became Jet. Dante must flex his emerging magic powers to discover the truth and resolve the potentially disastrous conflictsespecially when his father abruptly drops dead, and Dante realizes that the body they found was not his after all. Volatile and sometimes overwrought, but nonetheless absorbing and distinctive.