The story begins on Memorial Day at the Quincy Market family celebrations in Boston. A famous market and gathering place for shoppers and families, blocked off to vehicle traffic. Dr. Sandford (Sandy) Beech, his wife, and two young children are sitting in the market mall area enjoying the festivities, when three horse-drawn brightly colored wagons, purportedly ice cream wagons, weave their way down the promenade. Suddenly the doors of the wagons swing open, and terrorists armed with machine guns begin firing into the crowd. The bloodbath results in 200 people killed, half of them children, including Sandy's wife who was shot through the forehead, and his two children crushed to death by one of the horses falling on top of them. During the melee, Sandy attacks one of the gunmen, confiscates his weapon, and kills the three terrorists -- saving countless others from dying.
He becomes a national hero, and two years later is presented with the Citizen Honors medal for bravery -- a medal which he refuses to accept during the ceremony due to his disgust for how he was being used as a propaganda prop. His refusal of the medal becomes controversial, and is used in political ads by an former friend who became Sandy's nemesis, who is now a Senator and running for President of the United States. This old friend's name is Lincoln Berwick, a Senator from Texas.
Both Sandy and Lincoln attended West Point and were two members of a very elite chosen group, a sub-group in that famous military academy, known as the Honor Guild. However, during their tenure there, Sandy became painfully aware of the despicable characteristics of his old friend, and their friendship was short-lived. Sandy also blew the whistle on Lincoln while at the school, over the rape and death of an under-aged girl. Sandy was hoping the school would take action, but instead it was simply covered up and Sandy was expelled from the Honor Guild for breaking the code of honor.
The terrible secret of the death of this young girl, was known to four other boys who were with Lincoln the night the girl died. One of them decides to blackmail Lincoln once he announced his candidacy for President. Unbeknownst to Lincoln, that boy, now a man, has an old tape recording -- which if released would be incriminating to the presidential candidate. Lincoln arranges to have his private security team kill this old friend, make it look like a suicide, and confiscate the tape recording -- hoping that there are no copies. But, there is another copy, being held by the ex-wife of the man who was killed by Lincoln's team.
Sandy, our main character in the story, is a PhD in nuclear physics, a professor at MIT, and performs advanced weapons research and development for the Pentagon. In the two years since the death of his family, he has spent a large part of his spare time investigating what happened the day of the terrorist attack in Quincy Market in Boston. His biggest concern is how those horse-drawn wagons were allowed onto a blockaded promenade in the first place. Sandy has a secret friend in the Cosa Nostra, by the name of Vito Romano -- second in command of the Boston Mafia. Vito shares information that he's been able to dig up about the event -- and the fact that a crooked politician, the deputy mayor, was paid off by the two top campaign officials for Lincoln Berwick. That deputy mayor arranged for the business license of the fake company that operated the wagons, and also ordered the dismantling of the barricades, allowing those wagons to dangerously move along a crowded promenade.
Sandy begins to connect the dots of the motivation for arranging such an attack, when the entire world begins to witness the twisted presidential campaign of his nemesis, Lincoln Berwick -- a campaign that is driven by rhetoric of fear and hate. Lincoln's popularity begins to rise as he focuses on scaring the American people about the Muslim population and immigration. He uses fear and anger as the main focus of his campaign, and presents himself as the only candidate who can keep America safe.
Vito also discloses to Sandy that the organization and money people behind Lincoln's campaign is a secretive organization called 'The Aufsteigen Group,' which in the story is fashioned after a real-life shadowy outfit called 'The Bilderberg Group.' Aufsteigen is a collection of American-only elite, massively wealthy and influential, committed to American domination over world economics and geo-political influence. They have backed Lincoln Berwick for president, and in essence have hijacked the Republican Party for their own purposes. The word, 'Aufsteigen,' is the German word for 'Ascension,' which means to 'rise up, to soar.' The group considers Lincoln Berwick as their 'Ascendant.'
Sandy, with the help of Vito, also discovers that the Aufsteigen Group owns an elite sperm bank in New York City, which has held sperm frozen for many decades, right back to the end of World War ll. The sperm bank is known as 'Legacy Life Ladder Incorporated,' affectionately termed as 'Triple-l.' This bank is only available to select elite candidates, and contains over 200,000 sperm samples decades old, from only 50 donors -- from Danish, Austrian and German stock. Sandy knows that he was the product of artificial insemination, and upon further digging into his parents' archives, discovers that he was created from sperm from Triple-L. The remaining three boys ( now men) who were with Lincoln the night that young girl died know that they too were artificially inseminated, from the same sperm bank. Those three men have also had attempts made on their lives since the fake suicide of the fourth, one of those attempts resulting in death. So, there are only two left alive, and those two join with Sandy to help deal with the danger they all are facing. It begins to dawn on all of them that the Honor Guild at West Point consisted only of boys, and all tended to be blonde-haired, or light brown-haired, with blue eyes.
The story shifts with Aufsteigen deciding that their 'Ascendant,' Lincoln Berwick, needs some spiritual motivation to help propel his campaign of fear-mongering. They feel that stoking fear and anger is a sure ticket to Lincoln winning the White House. They arrange for him to make a visit to Argentina, to meet an old man (130 years old) living in comfort and 24 hour security in a walled-in compound. The old man's name is Herman Braxmeier, cared for by his loyal wife, Angela. Lincoln discovers during this astonishing visit that Herman is actually Adolf Hitler, who has been living in luxury and preferred medical care financed by the riches he whisked out of Germany before the fall of Berlin. That he and many loyal subordinates escaped in a fleet of submarines, and that the body discovered in the bunker in Berlin was not Hitler. Lincoln is more motivated than ever after this visit, and steps up his campaign of fear in his numerous speeches across the country. He quickly rises to the top of the Republican candidates, and propels himself with primary victories, one after the other. It becomes apparent to all that Lincoln will succeed in being the Republican nominee for President.
Through the help of Vito Romano, the Cosa Nostra consiglieri, Sandy extracts information from the corrupt deputy mayor that Lincoln's campaign is planning to arrange for another 'false flag' terror attack, this time against a cathedral in Boston. The campaign apparently feels the time is right for another attack, to help with the fear angle. Sandy intervenes, with the help of Vito, to prevent this attack from happening.
Sandy is obsessed with getting revenge against Lincoln and his top campaign aides for the fake terror attack that killed his family. He's also obsessed with stopping Lincoln's campaign for President, knowing that having someone as dangerous and unstable as Lincoln in the Oval Office would be a tragedy for the country, and indeed the world. Vito Romano and Sandy's friends convince him instead that he run against Lincoln in the presidential campaign -- that with his hero status, West Point education, prominent positions as an academic, he would be a sure thing to become the Democrat nominee against a weak field. Sandy eventually agrees, and launches his campaign.
As predicted, Lincoln wins the Republican nomination, and Sandy wins the Democratic nomination. Both are now head to head against each other in the presidential contest.
With election night approaching, Sandy discovers several shocking truths, and realizes that Vito Romano has not been honest with him -- in fact he's been manipulating him all along. Near the end of the story, Sandy pays a visit to Vito on his yacht, and Vito acknowledges the truth. He tells Sandy that he himself is a member of the Aufsteigen Group, representing the 3 trillion in wealth from all Cosa Nostra families. And that, both Lincoln and Sandy have been manipulated from early in the stages of the campaign -- to the point where both would be the head-to-head nominees. That Lincoln was the preferred Ascendant for the president's office, but that Aufsteigen wanted a fall-back plan. They wanted two Ascendants, both offspring from the Triple-L sperm bank, both with the desired superior qualities they wanted at the top. So, Sandy became the second Ascendant, and was manipulated by theatre, staged events, to appeal to his "better angels" to want to run for President. This was the ideal scenario for Aufsteigen -- they couldn't lose. One of their "offspring" would represent each political party, and one would be guaranteed of winning. Sandy also learns from Vito that Sandy and Lincoln were actually half-brothers, from sperm provided from Triple-L. He isn't told who the father is, but he knows now that out of the 50 elite donors to that bank, he and Lincoln were conceived with the same donor.
Vito gets his hands on the incriminating tape recording referencing the rape and death of the young girl decades before, and forces a news editor to release the tape to the public. This effectively kills Lincoln's campaign in its final days before the general election. Sandy, upon finding out that he's been manipulated and tricked, declares to Vito that he's going to sabotage their plan, does not want to be their Ascendant, and threatens to withdraw from the race. Vito then produces a tape recording of his own, incriminating Sandy in his desire to see the two top campaign officials for Lincoln's campaign killed. Vito had already arranged for their deaths, so the tape recording of Sandy has him caught in a vice grip. Sandy has no choice, and reluctantly cruises to victory in the Presidential race.
The story ends with a scene in Argentina, with wheel-chair bound Herman Braxmeier (aka 'Hitler') reading an American newspaper announcing the election of Dr. Sandford Berwick as President of the United States. He cries as he reads the headline, and pounds his finger against the photo of Sandy standing in front of a crowd with his arms raised victoriously in the air. Herman turns to his wife, and says, "My son."