Ten years ago aliens came down to earth and deemed humanity as not alive. Humanity has spent a decade studying these aliens, and grappling with the stunning fact that we are not alone and are unworthy of the aliens' time.
The story is told from the point of view of a handful of characters in different geographical locations--New York City, Cefalu, Hamar, a made up city in China, and Svalbard. The story in Norway deals with a discovery about the Trees that has the potential to change everything that people believed about the Trees, and could potentially cause widespread panic. However, in every story the reader is shown that there is already panic among about the Trees because by all appearances humanity might as well not exist given the Trees non-communication, so why are they on earth? This mystery that drives a good deal of the plot. That being said, what also drives the plot is humanity’s human- ness. Humanity has basically been invaded, yet for the most part it’s just damage control and power moves from most government bodies.