cover image Angel Fire

Angel Fire

Andrew M. Greeley. Warner Books, $17.45 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-446-51437-8

Greeley (Lord of the Dance) has now written a murky ``romantic mystery/fantasy'' about a Nobel laureate who is astounded when a lissome guardian angel in couture garb comes to earth to protect him. Sean Desmond, a theoretical biologist, hasn't been luckyhis wife left him to go into ``femtherapy'' and then remarried. Professionally, Sean achieves glory by observing ``sudden evolutionary leaps'' in fruit flies, resulting in a new breed of hardy ``superflies.'' In New York, which he visits en route to claiming the Nobel in Stockholm, gunmen nearly kill him before the angel Gabriella intervenes, posing as Sean's assistant. Greeley explains, somewhat ambiguously, that the assailants want to produce supermen and see Sean as an obstacle. Among his other foes are members of Project Archangel, a private English company trying to accelerate evolution for sinister purposes. Sean, predictably, adores Gabriella, and Greeley includes several endearing scenes between this unlikely twosome. Unfortunately, he also clutters the story with less engaging topics, such as the theory that angels are a species superior to humans in the evolutionary process. Gabriella voices startling sentiments for an angel, especially when she denounces the ``despicable'' Kennedys as ``satyrs.'' (July)