O'brien manages to write a book unlike any other I have ever read. Fueled by a profound faith in orthodoxy, he paints the modern culture wars in a blazing light. I began hesitantly, afraid that it was another consrvative with a chip on his shoulder, but O'brien is far from limited in his faith; rather, his characters pulsate with the same love for beauty as dostoevski's Brothers, with that wry wit of Chesterton's most developed characters, and with the relentless faith of so many martyrs. His vision of our times may seem incredible, but what gives the novel life and voice is that it is so absolutely tied to reality; the all-encompassing tolerance of the president disguising a distinctly intolerant and damning view of the Church, the daggers in so many men's eyes, the dismissal of natural law in favor of a doctored humanism, the violence of the anti-population movement-- all resound as terribly telling signs of our times. Aside from the remarkable sense of telos and faith, O'brien's work is astoundingly literary, with textured hints at Tolkien, Chesterton, Dante, Dickens, St. John of the Cross, Dostoevski, and even Teilhard de Chardin. It is a wonderful novel.