Something bizarre is happening among the government workers at weapons laboratories across the United States. Increasing numbers of employees are abandoning their jobs for no apparent reason, some of them committing suicide, others trading their high-profile, specialized careers for unskilled jobs in obscure towns. One such employee, metallurgist Richard Bransome, is drinking coffee at a café when he overhears a conversation about a long-ago murder that has newly come to light. The details awaken Bransome's suppressed memory of a similar crime that he committed years before. Like his co-workers, Bransome takes flight, eventually discovering that his sudden recollection is linked to an enemy spy ring and a powerful new weapon. Set during the height of Cold War tensions, this mystery offers a compelling mix of espionage novel, crime drama, and psychological thriller.