yellowcake, the common name for the uranium concentrate u308, created from the raw mined ore by sulfuric acid action. the metal has lept to 21st century importance as escalating world productivity demands more energy at less cost. but this thriller, spiced with ingredients of romance, adventure and surprise events confronts us with a nuclear disaster new to science, and how the characters handle that. georgia, recently- widowed paleontologist and zoologist takes a depression-enforced holiday in vanuatu where she meets and won by ryan, an environmentally-conscious american professor of thermonuclear science, also escaping his world. during their tourist activities they stumble across peculiar underground french activities in the volcano of yasur. various incidents bring them, and a few others they meet, to confront unexpected dangers ahead. meanwhile the french try to stop the pair's investigations as that government has runaway nuclear event unfolding and their president intends to manipulate his way to napoleonic ambitions. claudine, the french environment minister, slowly realises her president's intentions, travels to vanuatu disguised, meets all involved in the peculiar discoveries, and takes decisive action. the tale is timely as french pacific activities have caused this disaster, and yellowcake's french are secretive and arrogant, just as the world perceives french now. australia's role as the world's prime uranium source plays a vital role. you are left to wonder if this could happen to us all one day.