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No human event is more personal than death, no solitude more chilling. Nathaniel ben Ezra, too young to be barmitzvah, tries to diminish the suffering of Jesus Christ by offering him a goblet of orange juice, which results in an incident affecting his entire life. Nathaniel loves his own father, and cannot comprehend how the God of Israel could have been so ready to sacrifice his own son, or what could possibly be gained from permitting it. He feels contempt as well as hatred for such a god, who also drinks in so many prayers without heeding them. Nathaniel believes that God is a cosmic showman, who dances comfortably out of reach of his followers, blind and deaf to all laments and entreaties. If God exists at all, it is as a ruthless entity, not as a loving one. The book spends time with Nathaniel in many of his experiences, his brief love affair with an artist during the Black Death, the fate he is condemned to by Torquemada, a leading sadist of the Spanish Inquisition. The most significant of Nathaniel’s experiences is, perhaps, of the Jesus Christ figures he meets and pities, but in whose godhead he has no faith, until he is hired by a self-proclaimed Jesus Christ living in New York to infuse the Christians of the modern world with belief in him.