Books: Mental Paste a Creed for the Third Millennium

by Colleen McCullough Harper & Row; 346 pages; $17.95

Author Colleen McCullough's fourth novel began selling briskly weeks before its official publication. The easy explanation is that the vast audience that enjoyed The Thorn Birds (1977) will buy anything McCullough writes. But something else may be fueling this phenomenon. The appearance of perfection in any form is a rare and noteworthy event. News of its arrival is bound to spread, and perhaps, in this case, the word is already out: A Creed for the Third Millennium could well be the most perfectly awful novel ever published.

The year is 2032, and a new ice age is slowly freezing up the...

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