When Peace Corps volunteer Michael Killigan goes missing in West Africa, his father Randall and his best friend Boone Westfall begin separate quests to find him. Randall, a bankruptcy lawyer, is the warlord of his world, a shark in a fishbowl, exercising power with mad, relentless, hilarious glee; Boone, an American innocent abroad, journeys to the African bush, protected by the twin charms of the passport and the almighty dollar. In seeking Michael, both men find much more than they bargain for.
Dr. Peter Werner Ernst is an internal medicine resident at a major hospital's intensive care unit. He functions on eight hours of sleep for every three shifts at work. Overseeing the care of eight patients, Dr. Ernst's job is to keep death at bay--at least until the day shift comes on, and any potential death goes on someone else's record.
When Dr. Ernst stands in the center of the ICU, surrounded on all sides by computer terminals and cardiac monitors, he imagines he is on the bridge of the starship Enterprise, a guardian of unknown galaxies. But by 3:00 a.m. the space fantasy has dissipated into the air like so much ether, leaving behind only a profound and desperate desire for sleep. The needs of Ernst’s patients are as endless as his round of duty. Their lives are mere blips on the VDT console, their last bids for fading life sound as alarm bells in the night.