The parish of St Mary-in-the-Vale is preparing for Easter. In his Palm Sunday sermon, the Vicar explains that Christ's crucifixion and redemption are taking place every day. He little suspects that, before the week's out, he and his entire congregation will be caught up in a latter-day Passion story which will tear apart their lives. Michael Arditti's magnificent novel is both a devastating portrait of today's Church of England and an audacious reworking of the central myth of Western culture. Taking the form of a traditional triptych, it is at once intimate and epic, lyrical and analytic. Shocking events unfold against a backdrop of meticulously observed religious services. High Church ritual, evangelical revivalism and the ancestor-worship of the English gentry are all subjected to merciless scrutiny.