In the spring of 2232, hopes for a more humane world become manifest in the red-roofed houses of "China on the Rhine." There, Emily Ascher, once a freedom fighter, lives as Mama Em, mother to the orphans of a war-devastated land.
But unto the people of Chung Kuo, two children will be born: "Coffin Filler," a baby girl smothered and thrown away but not yet dead, and baby boy Josef, delivered into a hostile land, yet determined to fight for his life. They are part of a new generation who will see more death than any who have gone before.
While peace seems to reign, the puppet master of an army of giant androids plans one final, absolute destruction. And while the great T'ang, the dictators of Earth, are gone, the mega corporation GenSyn remains. And soon its pleasure drug called "Golden Dreams" will make Chung Kuo a funeral pyre for golden corpses--until the only escape lies in sending the survivors toward new stars. . . or joining Emily Ascher in a battle for liberty and a new Earth.