A foundered Victorian ship looking for the fabled Northwest Passage holds a secret in its icy grave... When Dirk Pitt of NUMA is almost blown to pieces in a lab explosion, he suspects sabotage. The lab in question belongs to a scientist hoping to use a rare mineral to combat greenhouse gases - but who would want to destroy our one chance to save the planet? But there are those who will do anything to control such a valuable prize. Pitt's investigations take him to the Arctic in search of a clue to the origins of this precious mineral. There, he and NUMA colleague Al Giordino must battle for survival against the hostile elements and an evil megalomaniac who is about to plunge the North American continent into war.