New York City: a thirteen-year-old boy named Tyler lies in a hospital, his brain damaged in a tragic accident. By his bedside, his father stands helplessly, as two very different scientists take charge of the boy's fate. One is a neurosurgeon, whose unorthodox experiments use computers to control a patient's physical responses during surgery. The other is a researcher with experiments of his own, ones so secret he can reveal them to no one: his attempts to find the spark of human consciousness and capture it forever.
Together, they will produce a result beyond anything they could have conceived, sending Tyler far beyond the frontiers of medical science into an astonishing netherworld of man and machine a place no living person has gone before and from which one desperate person will try to bring him back.