James N. Bade, professor emeritus of German at the University of Auckland, lives in Wellington, New Zealand.
Three university students have been chosen to take part in a United Nations special mission to delve into the significance of a chart discovered in archives near Berlin. The three students – Jake, a History major and a member of the University of Oklahoma wrestling team, Tom, a German and Politics major who plays cricket for Waitakere in Auckland, New Zealand, and Luise, a German literature major also taking yoga classes at the Free University of Berlin – first meet up at the UN Headquarters in New York, then travel to Berlin to inspect the chart. Under close examination by the students the chart reveals that a crucial message from the German novelist Theodor Fontane for the future of humankind has been deposited somewhere in Oklahoma near the Indian Territory Mennonite station where Fontane set his 1890 novel Quitt. Following the clues they find, Jake, Luise and Tom climb the Glass Mountains in Oklahoma to view the sun reflecting off the mountains at the exact time of the summer solstice. What they then discover as their adventures unfold is indeed a critical message for all humanity. But are there people who want it to remain a secret?