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The protagonist in this saga of intrigue and supernatural mystery, Jonathan Ramsey, is a human geographer and specialist in the study of sacred places. He is called upon to investigate the sudden disappearance of the healing powers of a famous shrine in New Mexico. What he discovers along the way is the very meaning of Jesus's call "to be like him."
When Ramsey arrives at the shrine, he learns of Adam Gwillt, the shrine's humble caretaker who has disappeared. Meanwhile, three rival groups descend on the shrine to find Adam. A right-wing Christian organization wants to destroy him, a progressive group of modern-day Christian Gnostics plans to convince Adam to lead them as a new savior, and a third group hopes to commercialize Adam's healing powers. Eventually the parties collide in a desperate attempt to capture Adam in a remote wilderness area of New Mexico.
As the contest resolves itself, Ramsey suddenly realizes he's been a pawn in a larger drama, and he begins afresh the search for Adam and the true meaning of Jesus's teachings. What he finds is a startling revelation of his own deepest purpose, which he must bring to the world.