A science fiction novel with sub-strata of environmental collapse, spirituality, technology allowing animal communication, and broken lives redeemed. The lead characters are a scientist priest who is an unwilling touch empath, a preacher who espouses the Prosperity Gospel taking over the country, and an animal behavior specialist who trains dolphins for the military. The plot revolves around a 'song,' the lifeline of cetaceans, sung by whales and ultimately meant to save humans from themselves.
Liam Jamieson, unwilling touch empath, can't touch another being without severe pain caused by overwhelming emotions and thoughts. He became a priest to cushion himself against humanity, but he has been forced to spend his life alone, and mourns the loss of human touch. The Vatican assigns him to a military research facility to modify the artificial human to human telepathy device, the PsiPod, for human to dolphin use.
He is assigned to work with Kate Mendoza the animal behaviorist who trains cloned dolphins to work with whistle language to carry out military missions underwater. She is also an undercover Sister of St. Julian, who spies for her Abbess. As a child she had been forced into a Poorhouse with her parents and barely survived the physical and sexual abuse. She became a Julian because she loves animals and hopes to fight government policy about animal ownership. She is hostile towards men, who she believes lack any capacity for real emotion.
The story is set in a country (MEXUS) ravaged by ecological disaster. Anti-environmental governmental policies are driven by political collusion with a charismatic and corrupt preacher, Rev. Amos Bilby. He espouses his own brand of Prosperity Gospel as the only way for the masses to find wealth and happiness. He and the government thus pit the poor against the wealthy.
Developer of the Psi Pod, Sam Beckett, adherent of Prosperity, has been unable to develop a working prototype. Kate is on site when a captured wild dolphin is brought to the facility, a dolphin whose whistle language is unlike that of the dolphins she trains. The only understandable words are "no song, no song."
Liam and Kate are forced to work together on the PsiPod project. The initially contentious relationship between Kate and Liam slowly develops into friendship when Kate sees that Liam shares her love of animals. Knowing that he can't touch her also makes her feel safe with him.
The wild dolphin's whistles of "no song, no song" become the basis for adapting a prototype PsiPod for the wild dolphin, who tries to convey the importance of the "song." Fearing for the fate of this dolphin and their own lives if the military learns of the successful PsiPod prototype and this unknown song, Liam and Kate release the wild dolphin and flee across the border to Canada. There they hope to meet an Old One who will reveal the mystery of the "song" and its relevance to the sea mammals. Kate and Liam are joined in Canada by Sam, who has been coerced by the military to spy on them because he has been hiding an illegal pet dog.
By this time Liam and Kate have moved from a hostile relationship to one of friendship. However, Kate's former abusive life makes her unable to fully trust a man despite her growing romantic feelings for Liam. She is unaware that Liam is developing feelings for her that he knows he will not be able to act upon.
Liam and Kate realize that the successful telepathic translation process, hinting that sea mammals are loved by a deity, calls into question the Prosperity Gospel which preaches that only humans are loved by God.
The Church and the MEXUS government collude to eliminate the data and the scientists. Kate and Liam are ambushed on the Canadian beach by snipers. Sam escapes. The dolphin is killed and the Old One wounded. Liam is shot, but can suddenly feel Kate's touch without pain as she holds him. It is unclear who survives the sniper attack. The Old One flees back to the ocean, realizing