It's spring, 1963 in the "Nickel Capital of the World." Nineteen-year-old Jake McCool is about to undergo a rite of passage-his first shift underground in a hard rock mine. But the Cold War is at its height, and Jake is also about to become a reluctant participant in a bitter inter-union battle fuelled by the global struggle between two ideologies in the wake of the Second World War. So is his girlfriend, Jo Ann Winters.
Together the couple will be swept up in a web of intrigue; at its centre is a terrible secret that will haunt their relationship for the rest of their lives, as their hometown becomes not only one of the world's greatest hard rock mining centres, but also the epicenter of the Cold War in North America.