Kevin Murray, now a Pennsylvania legislator, Patrick Gerard Carney, soon to become an auxiliary bishop in the Catholic Church, and Vincent Grosso, groomed to be don of the Philadelphia Mafia, were best friends at Villanova in the early 1960’s, having no idea that twenty years hence their lives would be inextricably linked in a conflict reflecting the flaws and ambitions of each.
Murray is obsessed with seeing that Pennsylvania pass the most stringent pro-life legislation in the nation. Convinced that he is a man who can leave his mark, he largely abdicates his domestic responsibilities to devote himself to assuring the bill’s passage. Carney, who became a priest thinking that it would allow him to escape his inability to accept responsibility, faces a moral conflict because of his knowledge of the illegal activities of Don Vincenzo, who will apparently stop at nothing to ensure the survival of the Family. Will Grosso use his knowledge of secrets that Murray and Carney must keep hidden to preserve their careers so that his own bloodstained empire can extend its power even further?
The author, now in the Pennsylvania legislature, paints a probing, graphic portrait of the worlds of politics, crime, and religion as they converge in this, his first novel. Not only are the main characters skillfully drawn, but secondary characters also come alive. Freind’s introspective, forceful treatment of burning moral issues, especially abortion, will cause the reader to examine his own convictions. Although the book is occasionally long on detail, it is essentially well constructed and difficult to put down.