Drury describes the chaos that overtakes America and the world with the suspicious death of the President just after his renomination. His death leaves the incumbent party without a candidate or a clear-cut way of selecting one. Against a backdrop of national and international chaos, Drury examines the motives and ambitions of a now-famous gallery of political characters. As the novel moves to its dramatic climax, the question of what candidate will be nominated by what groups keeps the future of America and the world hanging in the balance.