by Gore Vidal


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When a mortician appears on television to declare that death is infinitely preferable to life, he sparks a religious movement that quickly leaves Christianity and most of Islam in the dust. Gore Vidal's deft and daring blend of satire and prophecy, first published in 1954, eerily anticipates the excesses of Jim Jones, David Koresh, and the Heaven's Gate suicide cult.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141180397
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1998
Series: Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin Series
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 770,298
Product dimensions: 5.09(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.71(d)

About the Author

Gore Vidal (1925–2012) was born at the United States Military Academy at West Point. His first novel, Williwaw, written when he was 19 years old and serving in the army, appeared in the spring of 1946. He wrote 23 novels, five plays, many screenplays, short stories, well over 200 essays, and a memoir.


La Rondinaia, a villa in Ravello, Italy; and Los Angeles, California

Date of Birth:

October 3, 1925

Place of Birth:

West Point, New York


Attended St. Albans. Graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, 1943. No college.

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Messiah 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
John Cave, as a professional embalmer, is intimate with death. While working on a client he has an epiphany of sorts. Suddenly he has deemed the act of dying a good thing. Cave is so taken with this revelation that he must share his idea with as many people as possible and without warning a new religion is born. His followers call it "Cave's Word" or Cavesword. It's strongest message is death is to be welcomed. As Cavesword spreads Cave establishes a following so large he needs a team to promote and protect him. Closest to him is Iris Mortimer, Paul Himmell, Clarissa Lessing, and Eugene Luther. Each individual has a different purpose for being part of Cave's inner circle. It's Eugene Luther who narrates the story of John Cave. With the help of Cave's inner circle he developes and promotes a product to go with his message. Cavesway is a drug taken to make death even easier to initiate. As the world's suicide rate rises, thanks to Cavesway, Luther's perception of Cave and the cult-like message starts to distort and crumble. Messiah is prophetic and mesmerizing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago