Four centuries in the future, nanomachines watch the health of the wealthy and manufacture food and gadgets for everyone, but social problems persist. A singing teacher suffers for her music and fights bureaucracy and apathy. A news researcher can't help wondering about the real story behind the grim incidents that make the headlines. A police investigator, assigned to study trends, begins to see a truly sinister pattern in a series of seemingly unrelated crimes and deaths. A politician pursues his agenda, aids his constituents, fights the good fight and tries to get re-elected without compromising his principles. A ruthless businessman pursues his goal of making his family powerful, wealthy, and independent. Their disparate stories overlap, interweave, combine, and build into a tour de force of storytelling.