The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Lucas Martino is a physicist with a unique talent for invention. While working on a top-secret project for the Allied Nations Group (ANG) at its laboratory close to the Communist border, he is injured in an explosion. Communist forces commanded by Colonel Anastas Azarin are the first to arrive at the laboratory, and they kidnap Martino.

Shawn Rogers, Central European Frontier District security chief for the ANG, must determine if the man later returned to him is really Martino. Identification is difficult because of procedures used by the Communists to save Martino’s life. Their doctors, highly advanced in prosthetic integration, have replaced Martino’s arm and encased what was left of his skull in a metal dome, wiring sensory input replacements for his eyes and ears. Rogers does not know if they have substituted an impostor for Martino and kept the real scientist, brainwashing him into working on his project while under their control.

Knowing Azarin’s cunning, Rogers cannot trust the word of the returned man as to his identity. The ANG tries everything to verify Martino’s identity but can never be certain. Its leaders give up and assign Rogers and a team to follow Martino’s every move to ensure that if he is an impostor he is not compromising ANG security.

For five years, Rogers’ team shadows Martino. During that time, flashbacks reveal bits of Martino’s life. He is a single-minded individual who catalogs pieces of...

(The entire section is 599 words.)