President Virginia Belknap is one year into her second term when a NASA scientist discovers a new planet with an atmosphere similar to Earth. Embracing the event, Belknap turns a one-way mission to colonize this new world into her grand calling. It is the early 2030s - a time when Earth is struggling under the ill effects of climate change and a growing population, and the mission seizes the world's imagination.
But as the cool-headed and competent Belknap starts to assemble experts from different nations to plan all aspects of this illustrious enterprise, including the new planet's constitution, religious conservatives - led by an earnest evangelical named Randall Reese - rise up in outrage and indignation. Reese and his followers see the plans put forth by Belknap's Mission Council as the blueprint for a Godless world and the tragic loss of what could be a second Eden.
As the political machinations of Reese and others put the launch at risk, a broader and darker conspiracy takes shape that threatens to obliterate the ship, its crew, and even the new planet itself. Belknap, with her own life in danger, is forced to battle Reese, expose the conspiracy, and regain control of the mission before the launch window closes. But not before the forces at play spark a bonfire of deceit, murder, and domestic terrorism.
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