Things are changing in the Village--the charming holiday camp for the disappeared, the civilized prison for those who know too much. The authorities have found new ways of exploiting community spirit... using a lost pioneer of computer science to put their stamp on the coming Information Age. But then there's Number 18. She's a murderer... for the best of reasons. She's a bit of a collaborator, for reasons of her own. She's fiercely protective of herself. And she may be Number 6's best chance of out-thinking the authorities' newest attempt at control. But it all depends on what the Village's masters are really aiming for. Do they expect him to trust her... or destroy her?