Three FBI agents. One armageddon. It's the near future - sooner than you might hope - and the war against terrorism is almost lost.
Nuclear and biological weapons are in the hands of Islamic radicals, and new weapons are being spawned in remote labs that can be used against entire populations. These are some of the problems facing three young agents as they finish their training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
And still the threat is escalating to ever crazier heights. The Dome of the Rock has been blown to pieces by terrorists, and in retaliation thousands have died in another major attack on the United States, the equal of 9/11. Rumours fly through international capitals of a plague targeted to ethnic groups-Jews or Muslims or both. No one feels safe.
Like the Anthrax terror that followed 9/11, the new plague results from domestic terror, the province of the FBI. The FBI seeks one man who appears to be on a bitter mission to wipe history's slate clean and close the curtain on the last act of the modern world.
But the FBI itself is under threat of political extinction. There is a good chance the new agents will be part of the last class at Quantico, `Cop Valhalla'. As investigations reveal horror upon horror in the US and the rest of the world, the agents join forces with a veteran bioterror expert to foil attacks on the world's greatest religious cities-Jerusalem, Rome, and Mecca.
In the second decade of the War on Terror, victory may be hard to define.
Greg Bear was born in 1951 and published his first short story sixteen years later. His first novel was published in 1979, and his most famous novels, Darwin's Radio, Blood Music and Eon, have now become established classics. He is also a illustrator and a journalist. In 2000, he lectured at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, on the nature and future of crime and criminal justice.