FRADI HAD RECENTLY DIED, which made it all the more remarkable for him to realize that he was once again awake. That is to say, on the one hand he was rather surprised, but on the other hand he was scarcely surprised at all. He was aware that “recently” was a relative term under the circumstances, but his attendance at his own deathbed, surrounded by those glad to see the last of him, did seem to have taken place not long before. That, in any event, was not the point. By any standard it was a refreshing situation. He was not in pain. He had been in no shortage of pain, and had expected (if anything) to awaken into an environment where the continuation of mere physical pain would be the least of his worries. Renewed life after death was an article of faith, but the multiplicity of faiths differed sharply on the nature of that life, and on the correlation of one’s circumstances in the next with one’s behavior in the last.