The murder of his partner lands the hard-bitten private investigator Alan Blake in the middle of a complex international plot involving spies, crooks, resistance fighters, intelligent machines, and treacherous former loves. Never sure of what is the truth in a shadowy half-virtual world, he pursues the “missing person” case of an intelligent and beautiful young woman. A woman who was spirited away on the day she joined “The Academy.” How could she be hidden in a world where the omnipresent machines monitor everything you do and say? He searches the morally ambiguous fringes of society, only to find a human trafficking conspiracy dedicated to replacing the intelligent computers of today with ones made from humans. Can he rescue her before it is too late?