Lise Adams' father accepted a professorial position at a university on the New World when Lise was a teenager. The family moved to the planet by way of the Arch that had its earthbound terminus in the Indian Ocean. One afternoon, Robert Adams left his office and never made it home. He just vanished.
Though there were government inquisitions, his family never received any information as to his fate. Distraught, his wife moved the family (herself and Lise) back to Earth and destroyed most of his research material for a book he had been writing on the geological history of the planet called the New World.
Ten years later, Lise is back on the New World searching for answers into her father's disappearance. Armed with an old photo of a faculty reception, Lise has been tracking down her father's colleagues, hoping for a lead. Last to be contacted is Dr. Avram Dvali at the pipeline outpost called Kubelick's Grave. Lise connects with a semi-solvent bush pilot, Turk Findley, who agrees to help her out. Then life gets complicated.
The only non-faculty person in Lise's photograph is an old woman, the same old woman whom Turk had ferried earlier to Kubelick's Grave. Lise's inquiries about this woman have come to the attention of the Department of Genomic Security, and they now have Lise and Turk in their crosshairs.
Axis is a direct sequel to Spin. The suspense that mounts in Axis builds from its beginning in Spin, where humans try to understand what is acting upon their planet and why. Characters from the first book are pivotal in the second. The reader will lose some of the flavor of the story by not reading Spin before Axis.
To reassure the science-challenged reader, this book is not laden with technology. It is a rich tale with well-developed characters that touches on some of the basic philosophical questions of humans. Just read Spin first.