In the era of "the big squeeze" - when an environmentally ravaged Earth groans beneath the weight of twelve billion people - two men control the destiny of humankind. One was recently senile...the other is going insane.In the year 2069, with the Earth's population dangerously out of control, procreation and the medical treatment of terminal illness are the two most heinous crimes against society. But behind the doors of the top secret Biophysical Institute, an old man has been illegally cured of the ravages of Alzheimer's disease and made artificially younger - to serve the unspecified purposes of Premier Jeremy Beltane, one of the world's most powerful leaders. A member of the underprivileged "Wardie" class, Detective Sergeant Harry Ostrov has been assigned to serve as a guardian to the mysteriously rejuvenated nonagenarian - and entrusted with a devastating secret that could topple the unstable "Minder" government. But once within the confines of the Beltane family enclave, the dedicated police officer is dragged deeper and deeper into a lethal mire of scandal, corruption, political outrage, and moral dilemma - sworn to silence even as he observes his nation's ruler, a man ultimately responsible for the future of civilization, descend steadily into depression, uncertainty . . . and madness.