(From the publisher):
On the day Hugh Donlon is born, his father pledges, in gratitude for his wife's survival through the difficult birth, that his son will enter the priesthood. And if Hugh's prestigious Chicago family structures and manipulates his life and experiences so that he genuinely feels a vocation, they do so with love for him and confidence that it is right for him. Of course they arrange for the beautiful, sensuous teen-ager Maria Manfredy, who tempted their son when she visited one summer, to be removed from his life.
With their help he stifles his awakeneing love for her and dedicates himself to his seminary studies. But life as a priest is not the idealistic service Hugh envisioned. At St. Jarlath's he labors under a quixotic pastor whose selfishness, disregard for his congregation's spiritual needs -- even madness -- goes unquestioned by the Church hierarchy. Hugh's dissatisfaction grows as he witnesses the harsh treatment of a progressive young nun and endures his own public humiliation. He is ripe for the revolution of the sixties.
Driven by his long-suppressed sexuality and his sense of obligation to the nun he makes pregnant, he abandons his priestly vows. He rushes headlong into the secular world and into the frantic silvery pit of the Chicago Board of Trade. After a decade in which he feels he has sunk beneath the ice at the bottom of hell, he is stunned by the tragedies that compel him to decide anew the direciton of his life. His mother wants him to return to the priesthood; her very life may depend on that choice. His family, his friends, and even Cardinal Sean Cronin join in urging him to do so. But not Maria, the love of his youth; she claims to know what God really wants.
Original title: Ascent Into Hell
Genre: Fiction→ Crime and Mystery→ Suspense