AGE OF CONSENT by Joanne Greenberg (Henry Holt: $17.95; 277 pp.).
Daniel Sanborn reminds us of Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa, or Dr. Tom Dooley. He travels--under cover--from Vietnam to Algeria, Ethiopia to Sri Lanka, Korea, Laos, Somalia, Bangladesh, Peru. Wherever comes war, political torture, floods, earthquakes--disasters both natural and man-made--so does Daniel Sanborn come along with his assistants.
Sanborn, a plastic surgeon, specializes in the reconstruction of faces. The entire Third World has benefited from his selfless, charitable work: children with burned-out faces, with harelips, victims of unimaginable, inadmissible human crimes.
His sister Vivian, an expert in antique European porcelain, has lived an extremely protected life as the wealthy heiress of an old-moneyed Jewish family. It is Vivian who provides for Sanborn, her saintly adopted brother, a refuge from his travails. "He would come to her exhausted, sometimes trembling with fatigue and hunger. Sometimes he had to sleep away the miasmas of jungles and the fires of deserts and the despair of a hundred encampments. Once he had said, 'Those people are all the same in one way. Their eyes follow you, lines of eyes. Their faces are different colors and shapes. They wait in heavy clothes or no clothes at all, but their eyes are the same. Their eyes follow you everywhere.' "