millions of earthmen have been captured by aliens and are being put through the strangest and most terrifying survival tests ever imagined. young lyda brightner's first experience after being thrown into the midst of undisciplined humans is so horrible that she vows she will never let it happen again, and that somehow she will live long enough extract revenge on the creatures responsible. she doesn't know that the trials are just beginning. again and again she has to call on the only resources she has available: her own innate bravery, her quick mind, her unwavering belief in the innate goodness of the majority of humans and ultimately, her belief that eventually she will find someone to love. but even if she lives through all this, she will still have to face the final question. what do the aliens have in mind for the few survivors?