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A rogue force controlling the planet's oil supply would hold a knife to its throat. The planet's refineries, where oil becomes gasoline, may be an easier grab.
Lynn Dayton, 37, self-made refining executive, manages six vast complexes that transform oil into gasoline. Robert Guillard, 33, a suave Parisian intellectual believes, as did the cult around Pythagoras, that his genius confers moral authority. He directs the sabotage of US refineries, one by one. But his financing from an Asian refining cartel terminates in thirteen days unless he produces massive shutdowns.
Robert schemes to coerce Lynn into collaborating as he pursues his outwardly humanitarian goal of building refineries in Third World countries. If she refuses, he will hold hostage her sister, Ceil Dayton, 30, whom he has lured to Paris. Ceil, in turn, hides a brutal secret.
An industrial accident at Lynn's troubled Houston refinery arouses her suspicions. Government officials conclude routine negligence caused the accident, but her own investigation leads Lynn to suspect sabotage.
Threats to Lynn's life intensify. Desperate for the safety of her co- workers, whom she considers in greater danger, she works cease- lessly to find the real cause of the accident and the saboteur. Although her company security force notifies the FBI of her suspicions, the bureau considers her facts inadequate to justify adding resources.
Within a few days, explosions and fires at nearby refineries claim victims. The resulting fuel shortage affects the lives of everyone in North America.
Then Lynn is kidnapped. She fights for her life on a catwalk above a storage tank of hot, sulfurous oil and escapes.
Deciphering the full extent of Robert's scheme, she flies to Paris. But will she be in time to derail Robert's plans and save her sister?