Grant Archer only wants to study astrophysics. But the forces of the "New Morality," the coalition of censorious do-gooders who run 21st-century America, have other plans for him. To his distress, Grant is torn from his young bride and sent to a research station in orbit around Jupiter. Archer's mission is to spy on the scientists who work there, since their work may lead to the discovery of higher life forms in the Jovian system—which would carry extremely negative implications for the New Morality.
What Archer's would-be controllers don't know is that his loyalty to science may be greater than his desire for a quiet life. But that loyalty will be tested in a mission as dangerous as any ever undertaken—a mission to the middle reaches of Jupiter's endless atmosphere, a place where hydrogen flows as a liquid, and cyclones larger than planets rage for centuries at a time.
What lurks there is more than anyone has counted on—and stranger than anyone could possibly have imagined.