||A dramatic snowplow mishap and a chance meeting bring together engineers Jack Pipov and Ann Stuart. Jack is a retired Air Force colonel and well-paid consultant, with long experience in international hot spots. Ann is fresh out of school. Together they sign on for what looks like an unremarkable oil-extraction project in a remote area of the Rockies. But when local environmentalists stymie the plan, a long regulatory battle looms, and the project's funding dries up.However, the project's proposed location and infrastructure make it a perfect fit for clandestine government operations. The feds snap up the company, and overnight Jack and Ann find themselves plunged from civil engineering and into the spook world, with their every move controlled, scrutinized and guarded. For Jack, it's familiar if unwelcome territory. For Ann, it's a long way from rural Maine and the freedom of her college days.The engineering challenges are soon the least of their worries. A wily Saudi terrorist has infiltrated the local greens, and is bent on causing trouble. Beltway sleaze, interdepartmental feuds and political machinations contribute to the out-of-control situation as Jack and Ann find themselves battling to keep their integrity and their wits intact in a world where they'll need both just to stay alive.