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SHORT PLOT/CHAPTER SUMMARY (Synopsis)
The story begins with an unknown character riding his bike from Monument, Massachusetts to Rutterburg, Vermont. He is a nervous and paranoid boy; he is going to Vermont to see his father.
The story then switches to a taped interview between two individuals (T and A). T is trying to help A remember his life. We soon learn that A is Adam, the main character (who is also the person traveling on the bike). T is a man named Brint. Through the conversations between T and A, the reader learns details of Adamís life.
We learn that Adam is the only son of Louise and Dave Farmer. His family seems typical except for his motherís withdrawn and reclusive disposition. Adam is in love with a girl named Amy Hertz.
Adam becomes suspicious of his family when a friend of Amyís father, who is from the town where Adamís parents said they all used to live, does not recognize their name. This man claims to know everyone who lived in the town.
Adam discovers a sealed birth certificate with a different birth date than his own. He also overhears a conversation between his mother and a woman named Martha who calls herself Adamís aunt. Adamís parents had told him they had no living relatives.
When Adam confronts his father, Dave Farmer admits that they have been lying to Adam. The familyís real last name is Delmonte; Adamís real name is Paul Delmonte. When Adam was three years old his father, who was an investigative reporter, uncovered a government scandal. Because the scandal involved organized crime, the family was in danger and had to enter the witness protection program.
One afternoon the family receives information from Mr. Grey (their government contact who visits twice a month) that they may be in danger. The family drives up the coast for a short vacation. One day they stop to look at the scenery and are all hit by a car. Adamís mother dies instantly; Adamís father runs away but is killed; Adam survives. Mr. Grey informed the people who were trying to kill the Farmers where the family could be found. Grey places Adam in an institution where he is drugged in an effort to find out more information about his father. Adam is unable to provide any more information, since his father told him very little. The government plans to terminate Adam.
The information about Adamís life and the death of his parents is uncovered during sessions with Brint, who is another government agent. Concurrently, the story of Adamís bike ride north unfolds (the stories appear unrealated). Adam meets various characters and overcomes many obstacles in which people try to steal his bike or hurt him. At the end of the novel the reader learns that Adam has really been riding his bike on the hospital grounds the entire time. He is in a state of delusion induced by the drugs they are giving him. The characters whom he met on his ride are really hospital staff or other patients.