It is the dawn of the twenty-first century, and America is in trouble. Public schools breed apathy and ignorance, and politics has become the art of the quick fix. There is one woman, though, who has both the vision and the money to leverage change. Mariesa Gorley van Huyten, heiress to one of the great American fortunes, founds an educational subsidiary called Mentor Academies and begins to subcontract public school systems in order to raise a new, less cynical generation. But her clandestine program is much larger than that: it also includes the founding of a private space program, the eventual construction of an orbital power station, and the revival of technological innovation on Earth. Firestaris a chronicle of private enterprise and individual initiativethe story of one womans quest that becomes the focus for a whole new world. Mariesas program lets teachers strive to teach, hires astronauts who have no government space program to fly for, and provides productive outlets for the idealistic desires of the rich and powerfulat least those who remain sane enough to have such desires in the face of a crumbling America. And it just might work.