On a normal working day, feeling a bit under the weather but not too sick to go in to work, Lydon Prellig found himself being removed from his place of work in a wheelchair and transported to an isolation hospital. He had survived a release of a toxic substance, which had killed several dozen people. Government scientists wanted to find out what was special about him. Well, that was the first story which was given to him.
Prellig's 'speciality', when it was uncovered, turned out to be something so unexpected that he was transported to an official research stationResearch Station Cromwellwhich was housed in a former nuclear survival bunker. Here, Prellig learnt that he had an exotic; and possibly unique; talent, and he was needed to take part in a government research programme involving people whose talent was merely rare.
Ripped from the life that he knew without even a 'by your leave', at the mercy of the deliberately unpleasant Dr. Ermine, Prellig rebelled against the bland assumption that the government had the power to shut him in a hole in the ground 'in the national interest'and he showed that he had another hidden talent for the researchers to investigate.
A deeply embarrassing political assassination threw the country into turmoil. Usual-suspect terrorist groups claimed the credit and the authorities seized an opportunity to clamp down on them. Prellig found himself the target of kidnap-or-kill operations by foreign powers. And at the end of Part 1 of the novel, Dr. Ermine was reporting his death to the residents of Research Station Cromwell.
But there was a lot more to come . . .