Wyman Ford is called up for a secret expedition to Cambodia to locate the source of strangely beautiful gemstones that do not appear to be of this world.
Meanwhile, a brilliant meteor lights up the Maine coast. Two young women borrow a boat and set out for a distant island anxious to find the impact crater.
A scientist at the National Propulsion facility discovers an inexplicable source of gamma rays in the outer Solar System. He is found decapitated and the data missing.
High resolution NASA images reveal an unnatural feature hidden in the depths of the crater on Mars - and it appears to have been activated.
Sixty hours and counting . . .
'A superb read! Thoughtful and flat-out entertainment - a page-turning thriller. You'll be up all night with this book'
Jeffery Deaver on Blasphemy
Near the start of this solid thriller from bestseller Preston, the U.S. president's science adviser asks former CIA operative Wyman Ford, last seen in 2008's Blasphemy, to look into the sudden appearance of radioactive gemstones, in particular to identify the precise location of their origin in Cambodia. Meanwhile, college dropout and frustrated astronomer Abbey Straw, who believes she witnessed a meteor's fall, embarks on a search of small islands near her Maine home to locate pieces of the meteorite to sell on eBay. In California, soon-to-be murdered professor Jason Freeman sends Mark Corso, a Mars mission technician at the National Propulsion Facility, a classified hard drive with evidence of gamma rays emanating from the red planet. The three story lines end up neatly intersecting, though the final payoff doesn't do justice to the engaging setup. Preston refrains from inserting the scientific minilectures of which the late Michael Crichton was so fond.