Occupation of Earth is now in its 27th year, and relations between humanity and the dictatorial Hefn have never seemed shakier. The aliens mission is to save the planet from its human abusers; and the Baby Ban imposed by mass hypnosis has made Earth a cleaner, wilder, less crowded place. But the Ban has now lasted so long, and provoked such hatred, that when a spark is struck the situation explodes into worldwide riots on one side and retaliatory mindwipings on the other. Years of effort by the eco-spiritual Gaians, who mediate between humans and Hefn, have been destroyed.
While the Gaians regroup and brainstorm frantically in an atmosphere of doubt and danger, one obsessed Hefn and one young woman begin a radical experiment. Pam Pruitt has discovered a growing ability to acquire information by non-rational means. Childhood suffering has empowered her, in a way once understood by hunting and gathering peoples - an understanding lost with that lost lifeway - to communicate with mysterious forces through strong dreaming: to function as a shaman on behalf of her community, the human race.