Top positive review
Philip K. Dick updates the Charles Williams novel
Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2015
Philip K. Dick (PKD) presents a more coherent story here than in VALIS, the first book of the "trilogy." Part of what made the first book interesting was the unreliable narrator. Here, we get more reliable narrators but a less reliable timeline (again on purpose, to good effect). I think one can safely skip reading VALIS before this book, though it did help for understanding Herb's change in behavior toward Rybys.
This book drops references to western hermeticism and assumes a modest background in Kabbalah and Greek mythology. It reminds me of a Charles Williams (CW) novel, in how supernatural forces enter ordinary life (ordinary _future_ life at least -- with space colonies, flying cars, and vibro-lutes). CW goes through an impressive effort to stick to a _message_ of Christian orthodoxy, despite a _medium_ of the occult. PKD has no such attachment to orthodoxy, but this frees him to present the Good News in entirely new ways. He uses the _language_ of Christian orthodoxy (among other "doxies"), to convey its hopefulness, without doctrinal attachments.