Dr. John “Raj” Jhangi, a Professor of Physics, tries an experiment with an experimental powerful electromagnet with results that open a new realm in Physics. Tom’s job is to coordinate the efforts to solve the dilemma of the experiment. The Navy Department lends an old escort destroyer to the University to supply added D.C. power to expand the experiment while the Pentagon tries to obtain control over the experiment as a defense project. One of their observers, an officious naval captain, interferes with the experiment and causes the experiment to blow up, sending a portion of the University back in time. Efforts to return only puts the group further into the past and the people and a portion of the university winds up in the year 1003 A.D.
One of the primary problems facing the colony is the need for more people and children so the colony will not die out and the knowledge lost. Since women far outnumber men, much debate occurs as to how they can have more children when there are not enough males. This is solved by a sharing arrangement where a woman asks permission of a wife to share her husband for purposes of insemination, after which the man must have nothing more to do with the woman. This arrangement makes many women unhappy and requires modification.
The colony meets the Cahokian Indians and establish a common ground of support for each other when the colonists defeat a warring Indian tribe who attack the Cahokians. Further complications arise when the Indians desire to become “one people” which requires the council members to take an Indian “princess” and some women to marry an Indian “prince.” This is done to make “One People” and thus seal the pact.
The people struggle to survive; scrounging seeds, food and clothing from various sources and changing cars and trucks into fanning and mining equipment. By the end of the second year the colony is in good enough shape to search for and find oil, gold, coal and iron ore. The third year they are able to send the destroyer to Europe for supplies and more people and children.
The book details the efforts for the colony to survive and grow and to reshape the direction of the world by having as their primary goal education of the people. The conditions of the various countries and the living conditions in the world in 1005 A.D. are described and the history of many of the plants and foods used by Americans today.