Henry has discovered that the world is about to end. The ‘disaster’ is the all too familiar “earths core-swapping poles” variety of disaster. Further, he has calculated the exact date and in genius fashion has come to the conclusion that collectively, all the world's governments and scientists can’t or won’t in time, do anything to prevent it or mitigate the outcome. So, he sets out on an ultra secret mission to save mankind, or at least preserve it. He assembles a team of experts in all fields and a team of scientists and engineers from all of his companies to come up with his solution.
The book is narrated by a female author, recruited for her ‘creative imagination’ in solving puzzles in her literature. Her purpose for being recruited is unconvincing, but I guess he needed a writer since she is telling the story. The plan, as it evolves is to build a series of space “Arks” that will transport a few hundred or thousand people into space, sending them on a thousand year mission, carrying a cargo that is not revealed until nearly half way through the book.
There are minor subplots involving the narrator dealing with stalkers, the ethical questions in who to save, how to keep it secret, what to save, etc… there are also the inevitable “leaks” to be plugged, romantic disharmonies and so on. None of these subplot seem to lead the reader to new ground, and most fizzle out before being resolved.
The story further asks the reader to suspend belief in the setting that Henry, in his uber genius, chooses for building these never-beforeachieved in scope engineering projects under the nose of one of the most specious governments in the world. And in their backyard. Throughout the story, the need for secrecy is paramount. If governments catch wind of this project, they would naturally want to take it over and bend Henry’s logic, selection process, and decisions to their own national goals. So Henry decides to build and launch the Arks from Mongolia. China’s neighbor and proxy. China is being ultra protective of anything in Asia, and he decides to carry out his project under its nose. This grows even more odd, and reeks of misogamy, racism, and a Nazi-like “superior race,” among other things, when Henry chooses Chinese women of a particular racial purity as the only ones fit to do repetitive manual labor. Having small hands but not seen fit to saves, he also sets out to”improve” the breeding stock of those chosen to be the progenitors of the human race a thousand years from now.