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Jerod Alexandre, a "wayward" Jesuit, is banished to the missions to proselytize an "uncontacted" tribe in the Peruvian Amazon. Wanting only to assuage the guilt plaguing him following the death of his lover, or die in this remote and dangerous area of the rainforest, he flies headlong into the challenge, but with no desire to convert anyone. No longer functioning as a priest, he is immediately pulled into conflicts between Horace Perrault, an apparently sociopathic oil company geologist, and indigenous tribesmen who twice save Jerod's life. Rebel guerrillas, who also are intimately intertwined with the Indians and Perrault, drag Jerod into their wars with the military. But most compelling of all, he is stunned by the resemblance of his dead lover to Julia, a beautiful but tough UN agent who is working with the Indian tribes and by an ephemeral, seemingly mystical child he often, fleetingly encounters in the jungle. Julia practices the same Zen meditation as Jerod, and they form a deep bond. She helps him search for the uncontacted Luna tribe who have sworn to kill every white man on sight -- and to seek out another strange people they both intuitively now know exists. The Indians speak with awe and trepidation of this mysterious, advanced culture to which the priest feels intimately and inexorably drawn.