Bustling, churning medium-future political thriller, evidently the first of a series, and Ross' entertaining if overpopulated debut. In the 21st century, thanks to war and an antitechnological backlash, world political alliances have shifted dramatically; America, for long isolationist, is rejoining the world community under the guidance of wise President Shefferton. Tough cop Mel Hardrim is assigned to bodyguard the brilliant scientist Dorian Nye--but Nye is slain and Hardrim loses his job. Meanwhile: a devastating plague destroys cereal crops all over the tropics; and vastly powerful, vicious industrialist Horatius Krebs tries to gain control of the world. Only Nye understood the Strubeck equations, which could provide cheap food for the soon-to-be-starving masses. But is Nye really dead? No, Hardrim discovers: Nye and a number of other top scientists are members of the mysterious Argus Society. But what are their goals? Why all the secrecy? Are they good guys or bad guys? Various power straggles proceed as Hardrim closes in on the realization that Nye and his fellow-conspirators have a plan to build a star drive and free humanity to explore the galaxy. Ross' political struggles are convincing and dramatic. His backdrop--the present day with a shaker of things like antigravity and fusion power sprinkled on--is less so. And all too soon it's all too obvious what's going on--little here is original or provocative. Still, top marks for presentation and effort.