After Matt Grinnell's time travel adventure in Blowback '07, life has gone back to normal for Arky and Iris Jongler-Jinks. As normal as it can get for a family who happens to have possession of a magical woodwind instrument known as the cor anglais that can send people back in time. Thanks to time traveler's amnesia, Matt can't remember anything about his journey or the nature of the Jongler-Jinks family.
For much of recent history, the al-Ma'aliqs have lived in Dayira Azreyq under the rule of the Sheqas after trading their freedom for protection during time of war. The Sheqas, queens of Rimmal Nadar, however, have always been threatened by the presence of another great family. This precarious peace is broken when Sheqa Nizzira orchestrates the slaughter of the entire al-Ma'aliq family. However, one man, Azzad al-Ma'aliq, survives. To survive, he must run for his life, and for the sake of survival, risks death by hiding in the desert.
For as long as Elijah can remember, he's been playing basketball with his friends, Michael and Dylan. Despite living in the middle of Baltimore, they have kept their lives clean and free from drugs and gangs despite the violence that is escalating in their neighborhood – not always an easy thing for high school seniors to do.
In the year 2027, the USS Carl Sagan was sent out to expand humanity's reach throughout the universe, a need fueled by the rising population and growing overcrowding on Earth. Three hundred years later, after establishing a colony they called Maximus Prime, the Sagan is returning to Earth.