The unthinkable looms, terrorists about to use nuclear weapons on American cities.
The story opens on September 10, 2001 when Dr. Kendall Evans, Texas A&M professor of nuclear engineering, travels to New York City to receive the $100,000 “Hearndon Award for Nuclear Safety” at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The next morning—the infamous September 11—Ken approves, over the objections of his wife, a trip for his two teenage daughters to visit the World Trade Towers. The girls are killed. Ken’s wife blames him. They return to College Station with shattered lives and an embittered marriage.
Barbara Beafatah, an Arab student attending Texas A&M University, hates Americans. And in the male-dominated world of Arab terrorists, she struggles to find a way to participate in al Qaeda activities. Immediately after the destruction of the World Trade Towers, B.B. (as she is known by fellow TAMU students) develops a plan where she can play a major role—steal some H-bombs and use them to threaten American cities. She finds the perfect opportunity—a breach in security during the SALT treaty movements of nuclear weapons from Ukraine to Russia.
Vernon Nelson, the CIA’s head of anti-terrorist activities, leads America’s response to the September 11 disaster. This third segment starts small but builds throughout the novel.
Ken’s wife divorces him and he is overcome by clinical depression. B.B. leads her small group of terrorists in their hunt for nuclear weapons. The CIA fights terrorism, always a step behind.
Gradually, the three separate venues combine as the story progresses to a single scene and the hunt for a ticking 100-megaton nuclear weapon. This is the story’s climax, THE COUNTDOWN AT COLLEGE STATION.