Ten years after a boy and his father went missing in the wilderness of Minnesota's Boundary Waters, the boy - who is no longer a boy - walks back out of the forest. He is violent and uncommunicative. The authorities take him to Congdon Mental Institution in Duluth, on the edge of mighty Lake Superior.
Alain Delambre is a 57-year-old former HR executive, drained by four years of hopeless unemployment. All he is offered are small, demoralizing jobs. He has reached his very lowest ebb, and can see no way out. So when a major company finally invites him to an interview, Alain Delambre is ready to do anything, borrow money, shame his wife and his daughters and even participate in the ultimate recruitment test: a role-playing game that involves hostage-taking.