An alien spacecraft arrives in Earth orbit in the year CE 457 and blankets the globe with data collectors. In Briton, Angle chieftain Icel, his daughter Elfleda and their band of warriors see a shooting star strike a grove of trees. Racing to “the steorra,” they find themselves facing their twins.
A teenage girl awakens in a Chicago alley, dressed in the clothes of a street person. She has no memory of how she got there or even who she is. Somehow, though, she is sure of two things. She is not homeless and her mother is in grave danger. As she searches for her identity, she discovers she has special abilities. She also realizes she’s being followed.
Christopher, the story’s narrator, moves to Canon City, Colorado, in the sixth grade. Up until now, his life has not gone well. He is blind in one eye and still recovering from rheumatic fever. Though smart, he is a poor student. He is also somewhat of a loner, a result of having moved every two or three years of his life. In Canon, Chris befriends Lance, a Tom Sawyer-like boy with none of Chris’s failings and an unerring ability to get into trouble.
In a series of interwoven chapters filled with murder, conquest, disaster, trickery and adventure, the characters find themselves thrown together and pitted against one another. In the end, they will face the ultimate test of their principles and their courage–with millions of lives hanging in the balance.