Assassination is t unkwn amongst those with a criminal bent in the architectural profession, and things can get ugly as charismatic international architect Simon Duval discovers. A rival and adversary to his successes is ather architect, Catherine Quaid, who is ambitious and competitive. Well-connected and rich, the daughter of an American ambassador, she maintains a sinister presence throughout the story. Simon climbs the ladder of celebrity rapidly with his architectural achievements: the new cathedral in Cape Town; the Earth Museum of Natural Disasters in London; and the Friendship Freeport in southern Morocco, where he becomes a political pawn in a dramatic desert sequence and is abducted for ransom money. His next project is Phoenix Acre in New York, adjoining Ground Zero. Orchestrated by Catherine, he becomes the inwitting victim of the NY drug culture and the law, and is hospitalised due to the psychiatric consequences of the drug. Part of his psychiatric therapy lies in revisiting the places of his youth, a happy period which has been temporarily erased from his memory. With the help of his wife, Ingrid, and his friend Nick, he is gradually restored to health. Simon is awarded a UN prize for his environmental awareness in his international projects, and is shortlisted as the lead architect for the new United Nations headquarters in Delhi. Catherine Quaid, through her ambassador father's connections, has managed to be appointed to the monitor panel. Her sinister presence thus continues to be a threat to him during his most prestigious project.