It is the last day of Jeremy Chin’s life on Earth. His world has dissolved in a shimmering dust from which he alone is spared, although rendered unconscious. When Jeremy awakens, he finds himself in a hospital room with no medical equipment in the company of a heavily armed solder and a young man covered in tattoos and piercings. These two, Steel and Xartus, are refugees like Jeremy. They are stranded in a patchwork universe its inhabitants have dubbed the lattice of worlds, and they are all in imminent danger.
As Jeremy helps them escape from the hospital’s homicidal AI physician, he exhibits incredible insight and awareness concerning his new environment. These unusual gifts only add to the questions raised by Jeremy’s presence, the first new arrival since the creation of the lattice. To answer them, Jeremy and his crew of protectors must explore Jeremy’s connection to the Engine, the force that holds the chaotic lattice together and affects every facet of life with its power.
What disturbs Jeremy most is a realization that none of the other survivors can fathom: that they, their remnant worlds, their enemies, and even the unresponsive citizens around them are all amalgams of the video games Jeremy has played. Even their powers seem derived from video game laws and logic, which Jeremy readily uses to his advantage.
Jeremy’s investigation pits him against secretive foes in search of powerful artifacts capable of reshaping reality. With enough of them, they can recreate the universe. Those who sided with their nihilistic goals have been promised a return to the worlds they lost, recreated as a paradise. Those who resist, however, face nothing less than complete obliteration of everything that yet remains.