In the year 2035, the ravages of climate change and subsequent economic and political decline have caused the United States to be broken up into six separate republics. Jasper Stone, an out-of-work archeologist, receives a cryptic message from his former colleague, Riley Collins, about an ancient alien artifact hidden somewhere in the Adirondack Mountains. Riley believes the relic may contain an urgent warning from an alien civilization, but he disappears before he can share any additional information. Jasper, seeking meaning in his life after the murder of his mother, continues the search for the artifact to help his friend and find some spiritual respite.
The key to the location of the artifact lies within the transcendental writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson during his time in the Adirondacks. With the help of his former love, Ingrid Black, Jasper embarks on a quest to secure the artifact and bring its message to light. Worried about how the artifact could threaten their evangelical fundamentalism, the newly formed Southern Republic theocracy sends a former domestic terrorist to stop them.
From the waters of Lake Champlain to the ski jumps of Lake Placid, Jasper and Ingrid embark on a journey to save the artifact and perhaps, the world.