After a year in New York City and a summer with her grandfather, Vicky Austin returns to the rural connecticut village she grew up in-- and feels totally out of place. Then she meets Adam Eddington's Great Aunt Serena, who reminds her of her beloved grandfather, and she begins to find a comfortable, if not exciting, routine to her days. At Christmas, Serena gives Vicky a trip to Antarctica, to visit Adam. Vicky can't believe her luck.
But the trip is not what Vicky imagined it would be. First of all, she doesnt know where she stands with Adam. He's pulled back, saying they are just friends. But weren't they more than that, Vicky thinks. And Vicky's fellow passengers are not what they seem or they are more than she knows. Finally, even Aunt Serena's motives are suspect, as Vicky discovers a journal that belonged to Adam's famous uncle who disappeared many years earlier.
As Vicky becomes more and more caught up in a mystery involving drugs, nuclear waste, and international espionage, she discovers that her assumptions about the world are hopelessly naive and that life, hers included, is as fragile as the ecosystem of Antarctica, the world's most remote continent.