The final chapter of The Magic Labyrinth looked like a happy ending: every obstacle seemed to have been overcome, but it was by no means so. Nothing was solved. Our eight heroes have settled in the tower, deeply paranoid and haunted by an ubiquitous past. Moreover, they now have to face the responsibility that comes along with power. The enemy was defeated, but is it really so?
There is less adventure and more philosophical reflection in this last volume of the Riverworld saga. If you were in a position to kill Hitler, would you do it? Would it be ethical? Are spouses, parents and children still bound in the afterlife? How much time people should be allotted to save themselves? How do you establish when a soul is beyond redemption? Do men have free will, or is everything predetermined? These and more questions must be answered by Burton’s “team” as they realize that playing God is not much fun.