Bantam. 502 pages, $22.95.
Mr. Crowley’s novel begins with the proposition that “once, the world was not as it has since become.” Let the reader be warned by this banality. The tale wanders plotlessly from the approximate present to Elizabethan England, encumbered by metaphysical and religious baggage, arcane references, and the philosophers’ stone. There are ghosts, visions, and werewolves, but not even werewolves can locate any blood in the characters.