That's what Burton and a handful of fellow adventurers are determined to discover as they construct a boat and set out in search of the river's source, thought to be millions of miles away. Although there are many hardships during the journey--including an encounter with the infamous Hermann Goring--Burton's resolve to complete his quest is strengthened by a visit from the Mysterious Stranger, a being who claims to be a renegade within the very group that created the Riverworld. The stranger tells Burton that he must make it to the river's headwaters, along with a dozen others the Stranger has selected, to help stop an evil experiment at the end of which humanity will simply be allowed to die. --Craig E. Engler
From the Inside Flap
Sir Richard Francis Burton would be the first to glimpse the incredible way-station, a link between worlds. This forbidden sight would spur the renowned 19th-century explorer to uncover the truth. Along with a remarkable group of compatriots, including Alice Liddell Hargreaves (the Victorian girl who was the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland), an English-speaking Neanderthal, a WWII Holocaust survivor, and a wise extraterrestrial, Burton sets sail on the magnificent river. His mission: to confront humankind's mysterious benefactors, and learn the true purpose--innocent or evil--of the Riverworld . . .