The latest in this Australian writer's increasingly interesting fiction, this is an unusually fastidious, provocative novel about a young Catholic priest, restless within Church strictures and practices, who chooses an inner freedom via submission. Father James Maitland has been continuously appalled, bemused, amused by the topheavy platitudes of his immediate superiors, their tidily packaged Deity and their irrelevant appraisal of human needs. But Maitland cannot damn an archaic hierarchy out of hand: supplanting the ""arrogant"" priest may just be the humanist priests like Maitland himself ""who don't know what anything means."" When threatened with removal because of acts and attitudes that have enraged his superiors, Maitland finally submits to ecclesiastical control because leaving would mean that he ""cared less"" than the Captain Queegs of the chancel. For along with the ""infamous"" in the Church lies the ""mystery"" which makes Maitland's calling essential. Keneally's rather existential points are made with delicacy, at times with a warm, broad humor, and Father James is a vigorous, attractive priest. A thoughtful and sentient book.