Orbiting the sun, fourteen-year-old Bart is a vice in The Prominence, a space abbey. As well as learning the rules of the Order, he is also being trained to pilot the vessel by Gary, the experenced but cynical captain. When an SOS reaches the abbey from a smaller space-ship, the monks are all for rescuing the two surviving passengers. But their generosity is betrayed when the newcomers begin stealing the abbey's valuable treasures. Caught in the act, the thieves are locked up. Soon engine failure means that The Prominence is heading dangerously close to the sun. Now both monks and thieves face the same risk of death by overheating. Tempers flare. The unity of the Order falls apart. Gary's attempts to rght the engine don't work. And it's up to Bart to find a way of saving all their lives.