Jason Hunt is a gamer, a university athlete whose game is a lasertag-esque team shootout, with this twist: because each player sees the game through a computer headset, each athlete is seeing a different skin on the game they play together. While one sees medieval combat with crossbows, a second sees the contest in terms of pirates, and a third sees ninjas.
In fact, in Jason’s dark future America ruled by its Undying Emperor, everyone lives virtual lives. Most universities teach only virtual classes, athletic contests are virtual, and many people never leave their homes. Jason’s father Jay is a crank in this world, a paranoid old man who stubbornly lives off the network and teaches his son dead skills like martial arts.
Until one day, in a literal explosion, Jason’s life comes apart. The Undying Emperor, he learns, is not a benevolent immortal leading American in a long war against Alien invaders; Jay is not, after all, Jason’s dad; and the Hunt men are heirs to an old unfulfilled mission that will make Jason both hunter and hunted in his quest to overturn the order of the world: Theocracide.