One sunny evening in June banker David Barnes drives down from his London office to his large Surrey home, looking forward to an idyllic weekend playing tennis and relaxing with his current girlfriend, Alison Bates. But he arrives to find the road blocked by police barriers and hundreds of sightseers -- what appears to be a large sinkhole has suddenly appeared at the foot of his garden.
With burst mains and fallen telegraph poles in every direction, things are in chaos, and David is not allowed back into his until later that evening, only narrowly escaping as the entire building collapses around his ears. The sinkhole has turned into a crevasse. The next morning reveals a scene of utter devastation stretching several hundred yards. Experts are called in, theories are propounded ... and that night the trench extends again, opening up a tear in the earth's crust of over a mile in length, some fifty yards wide, fifty feet deep -- and heading for the heart of the capital. How did it start? More importantly, can it be stopped ...?