In the freezing heart of the Pacific Northwest winter, a group of firefighters from North Bend Fire and Rescue responds to a freeway accident. Two trucks have collided on the icy pavement. One of the trucks was transporting livestock; the other carried within its cargo an unmarked, innocuous-looking container. Now the highway is chaos with irate drivers, volunteer fire crews, and hundreds of escaped chickens. The trucks are cleared, the highway reopens, and another day ends. But the repercussions of the crash are enormous. For six months later, the firefighters who were at the scene begin to mysteriously succumb to unexplained accidents and ailments. Jim Swope wakes up with the first, strange symptom - a symptom of an unknown disease that renders its victims brain-dead within a week. Now he has only seven days to determine how he and his fellow firefighters have been poisoned - and to discover an antidote...if one exists. If he doesn’t, these will be the last seven days of his life.