It meant little to young Robert Fairlie, a serious and dedicated philologist, that in this year 1966 the United States and Soviet Russia were contentious about the Moon. He had little interest in the first two rocket landings on the moon, and the bases that the two nations had built there. He knew nothing at all of the shattering discovery that the Americans had made there.
For what had been found was of such explosive potentialities that it had to be kept top-secret—the discovery that space had already been conquered long ago by races who had once spanned the stars. So that men who had expected to spend decades in reaching the nearest planet, found suddenly in their hands the way to the wider universe.
Fairlie, drawn unexpectedly because of his special knowledge into this greatest of secrets, finds that a guarded New Mexico rocket-base is only the first step of the way. That way leads out amid the unexplored stars to the lost heartworld of those space-conquerors of long ago. And it leads Fairlie and others into the appalling reality of stellar space still haunted by the past cosmic struggle whose scale in space and time dwarfs the rivalries of tiny Earth's quarreling nations.