Thanksgiving Night : It is 1999; predictions of catastrophe blare on the radio, and religious fanaticism is everywhere on the rise. The millennium is approaching. Oliver Ward and his divorced daughter, a young policewoman named Alison, and Oliver's two grandchildren become involved with Holly Grey and Holly's aunt Fiona, elderly ladies with a marked propensity for outlandish behavior. Holly's son, Will Butterfield, and Elizabeth, Will's second wife by that name, have been happily married for ten years but are about to discover how fragile happiness is. And in the middle of all of them is an old priest, Father John Fire, who is a good man, thinking of leaving the priesthood. He is called "Brother Fire" by everyone who knows him, after the famous words of Saint Francis when confronted with the burning brand with which he would be martyred. Close to both Holly and Fiona, Brother Fire also has a part to play in the rapidly unfolding family drama.