Someone was tampering with time, altering the past to eliminate the present, fading people out of existence into a timeless limbo.
One of the victims was Angelina, the lovely, lethal wife of James Bolivar di Griz - better known as the Stainless Steel Rat. That put Slippery Jim on the trail of the villains, a trail that went back to 1984 and an ancient nation called the United States of America. The Stainless Steel Rat was determined to rescue his wife. And before he was through he'd thrown dozens of centuries through time in both directions. But then he didn't have much choice: to save Angelina he had to save the world. Again.