Having escaped the clutches of the Westminster Praesidium, Adam and Eve Smith have settled back in their home in Harrow, hoping their life will return to normality. It is not to be so.
Roland Samiat, the CEO of the Slievins Consultancy, is outraged. The Smiths, with the help of their friends and the goddess of truth, Aletheia, the daughter of Prometheus, have managed to damage the infrastructure of the Praesidium, one of Slievins most valued clients – and this despite the best efforts of Roland’s deputy, David Minofel. Roland is determined to destroy Adam and Eve, in revenge for the havoc they have caused and as a way of putting an end, once and for all, to any hope they may still harbour of initiating a Fourth Beginning.
Both Adam and Eve are caught in a Slievins-organised terrorist outrage, perpetrated in Covent Garden. Although both survive the blast, Slievens succeeds in convincing each of them that the other is dead. Eve ends up in the tender care of Roland Samiat, befriended by two Slievins’ staffers, the handsome Lister Bavad and the delectable Enid Mavlow. Adam, under investigation by HMRC for tax evasion and by the Swiss police for the murder of Guy McFall, a former colleague at pharmaceutical company ZeD, is forced to go on the run.
Confident that he has set in motion a plan that will finally break the relationship between Adam and Eve and eliminate any danger of a Fourth Beginning, Roland is able to concentrate on a major Slievins’ initiative that he believes will compel man to face the truth about his nature and will enable mankind at last to fulfil its true potential.
This initiative is Project 75241, a cull of three quarters of mankind (approximately six billion people), leaving 24% of the more intelligent of the species to service the one percent elite (essentially Slievins’ client base). Samiat sees the acceptance by the establishment that a cull is the only solution to the problems humanity faces as a true coming of age for mankind. It will prove that Prometheus’ deeply-rooted faith in the benign potential of man has always been totally and grotesquely misplaced.
Although all the cards seem to be in Samiat’s hands, he has, at least to some extent, miscalculated. First, Adam’s experience on the run is giving him new insights into life and challenging him to review what he has learned in his quest for truth. Secondly, while Roland has a grudging respect for Aletheia, the daughter of Prometheus, he still underestimates the strength that goddess and the blind man Kit, working together, can deploy against him. Thirdly, he finds it hard to grasp the nature of the love between Adam and Eve, which remains a powerful force despite their belief that their partner is dead.
Samiat also has to deal with the machinations of David Minofel and other senior members of the Slievins organisation who, when not fornicating, spend much of their time conspiring to kill him or each other.
This tale comes to a climax in Ubar, the city under the sand, in the desert of southern Arabia, where Slievins has installed its new headquarters. It is from there that the Cull is to be initiated; and it is there that the final confrontation between Roland Samiat, the CEO of Slievens, and Kit, the blind man and suspected emergent, takes place.