Dr. George Mills, a physics professor at Ursa University on equatorial Mars, and Dr. Joanne Zhu, a molecular biologist and George's long time partner and lover, are afraid that a secret they've hidden from the authorities may soon be discovered. It's the year 2331 and although genetic therapy is standard on Mars, George and Joanne have developed a radical new form of genetic enhancement using computer simulations that apply synthetic evolution to behavioral genetics. They are able to genetically shape human nature rather than superficial human traits through millions of years of virtual evolution in the holographic memories of Will, a quantum computer unlike any other ever developed.
In a bold and dangerous experiment that began fifteen years earlier, George and Joanne, under the cloak of rudimentary genetic therapy necessary for life on Mars, planted the revised genetic code into a group of children code-named the Proteus File. Now, at the onset of puberty, the Proteus children are exhibiting unforeseen traits that are raising alarms with the authorities and threatening to expose both the Proteus File and the unprecedented powers of Will. As the situation spins farther out of control, George, Joanne, and Will become the unwitting pawns in a struggle between the ambitions of Admiral Aaron Nelson, the terran Void Fleet commander, and a budding separatist insurrection vying for control of Mars amidst ethnic and racial hatred. While the two forces battle on the brink of civil war, George and Joanne are swept into a life or death gambit to save the fledgling species of Proteus children and keep Will from falling into the wrong hands.
Along the way: Perseus and Miram, eleven-year-olds with extraordinary and ever-increasing mental powers, contend with issues of their identity; Dr. Margaret Gates, a designer terran tasked with arresting George and unraveling the mysteries of Will and the Proteus children, discovers she may be on the wrong side; and Malcolm Peters, a psychologist and friend of Joanne, is involved in orchestrating a daring rescue from a secret separatist base deep under the Martian Mesa.
This report prepared by Peter Dingus