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Phileas, Guardian of Oasis, has lost his heart to young and psychically gifted Serazina. He's sure she'll never fall in love with an ultra-logical, humorless bore who's almost as old as her father.
A sudden international crisis distracts him from his misery. The desert land of Etrenzia, facing rebellion from tribal minorities, claims that Oasis is encouraging the insurgents.
Elissia, Serazina's sister, who's been working in Etrenzia, brings home her lover, a rebel leader, for a visit. Though he gives the Oasan leaders priceless information about Etrenzia's covert mind control and human breeding programs, his attempt to coerce Phileas into supporting the rebels earns him a deportation ticket.
Elissia breaks up with him but insists that she must return to Etrenzia to finish her project. A few weeks later, she is abducted.
Phileas comforts Serazina so tenderly that she discovers her love for him, but she insists on going to Etrenzia and rescuing Elissia. Envisioning her wandering in the desert without a plan, he knows he must accompany her.
Together they brave the perils of giant snakes and sandstorms in a country where shifting alliances and overt hostility threaten them. They don't know that they are being lured to the desert for a purpose far more sinister than their worst fears.