The unfairness of American politicians to bow to the pressures of special interests and big business at the expense of the environment becomes too much for PROFESSOR ALBER GREENE. After Senator JARED KERR slips language into a bill that deeds environmentally sensitive land to a friend who owns interest in mining companies. Dr. Greene assumes the persona of Ina Maka (Lakota for ‘Mother Earth Spirit’) and convenes a band of guerilla activists on three continents to simultaneously kidnap children of high government officials. Either parents support environmental laws or their children may die.
LING DOM, Minister of Tourism in the Three Parallel Rivers World Heritage Park of China, wants to halt plans for mining and dam construction. His plan to kidnap the daughter of the American Ambassador fails and he is being sought by the authorities for her death. Wounded by the police, Dom flees into the mountains where he is rescued by MR. ZANG, a member of the Naxi minority. Dom is drawn too TAYOU, a former student who admires him. Dr. Greene is depressed with Dom’s failure, but holds out hope plans in Ecuador and in Colorado will succeed. He is having an affair with a graduate student, TERESE DEE La FLEUR which keeps him focused.
Paramilitary police follow Dom’s blood trail to the Naxi village. They grill Dom and decide to take him back to Kunming when he escapes. He is presumed drowned by the authorities. He remains with Tayou, becoming her lover according to Naxi tradition.
MARCOS MORALES, son of the senior staffer, Senate Appropriations Committee, JOZINA MORALES, is kidnapped while on an eco-tour in Ecuador. KAYLEIGH WESTERVELT, daughter of PHILLIP WESTERVELT, Vice-President of the United States, is taken while on a horseback expedition in the Colorado Rockies. Dr. Greene sends hostage demands to Jozina and to the Vice President.
The Ecuadorean government opened the ancestral homelands of the Shuar, legendary head hunters of the Amazon, to oil and mining exploration. Y’TI is instrumental in capturing Marcos who the Shuar want to use to stop the exploitation. Marcos is exposed to the power of the arutam, a hallucinogenic fueled vision designed to empower him with powerful spirits of dead warriors to engage the tribe’s enemies. He romantically pursues Y’ti. Marcos meets ANGEL REVUETLA, Y’ti’s husband and HERNAN CARLINDO, Angel’s half-brother who is a tribal elder. Learning that Y’ti is married puts a damper on Marcos’ romantic pursuits. Angel betrays the tribe by alerting the government of Marcos’ location. Y’ti gets Marcos out of camp just as the helicopters arrive. Angel leaves in his private air craft. Y’ti and Marcos make their way down river and eventually back to Quito. Angel dies when his plane crashes, opening the door for Marcos to court Y'ti.
Vice President Westervelt, leading candidate for his party’s nomination in the upcoming Presidential race, is notified of his daughter’s disappearance by TOM O’BYRNE of the Secret Service. The only clue is a bloody tangle of human tissue with a GPS microchip left in her tent. Wrangler CY STARY and camp cook KAT RAE are contractors who are suspected in Kayleigh’s disappearance.
Team chief MOE CASSIDY, and agents ADI, JOHN and ARLENE struggle to rescue Kayleigh and salvage their careers. Tom O’Byrne loses confidence in Moe and replaces him with GEORGE HAGERTY who brings in other agents to conduct the search. Moe decides to continue searching for Kayleigh despite orders to remain in camp.
Phillip must marshal the resources to rescue the victims while not appearing to cave in to ransom demands. Jozina Morales suffers an apparent heart attack when Marcos does not deplane as scheduled at Dulles International. She receives her ransom letter while in the hospital and reaches out to the Vice President, a former lover, for assistance in saving her son.
The crisis reunites Phillip and Jozina who congressional staffs in their twenties. They became lovers. His parents did not approve of him marrying a poor Mexican from the border country. Instead, he married a family friend who died of cancer two decades later, leaving him one child - Kayleigh. Jozina went back to Texas and returned with a son whom she raised as a single parent while working for the Senate. Phillip marries CHARLOTTE HOWE, a southern belle worth millions. Charlotte’s yearning to be First Lady is all consuming. Her beauty and money dazzled Phillip when he considered campaign costs and strategy. Their marriage is on shaky ground.
BRETT SEARCY, a fellow board member with Charlotte at the National Zoo, suggests she keep tab on Kayleigh who has a reputation for partying. He shares the latest technology to insert GPS tracking microchips using a hypodermic needle. Phillip learns of this deed and confronts Charlotte. She confesses she did it to protect his chances for the Presidency. Charlotte accuses him of having an affair with Jozina. The thought that Phillip could lose Kayleigh drives him to see the President, who uses the power of the Executive Order to satisfy some of the hostage demands. Pleased with progress in meeting hostage demands, Dr. Greene orders the release of the hostages, but the kidnappers ignore them.
Will Cassidy and his agents find Kayleigh before it is too late? Will Marcos find his way out of the jungle and back to Quito? Will Phillip and Jozina re-unite?
Les Coalson's timely thriller captures the mood of the country where citizen opinion rates the Congress and the Federal Government at the bottom of the scale regarding respect for various institutions. He lays out the major environmental concerns of the day in the ransom letters to parents of the kidnapped children. It remains to be seen how many of the ransom demands can be achieved, if any.