Irish school-girl Catriona O'Brien knows nothing about this, of course. She has persuaded her adoring step-father Sam to bring her to Geneva on the pretext of visiting her mother Brigit who is the Irish Ambassador to the UN. But actually Catriona is trying to solve the mystery of how and why her scientist-father was killed in his Dublin laboratory six years ago, a murder to which she was the only witness.
When they visit CERN, she meets the secretive little Chinese-Irish scientist Michael Zhang who not only worked with her father but has some knowledge about his death. But he is too busy to tell her the details. He is trying to solve a problem with ATLAS.
The giant detector is being overwhelmed by an unusual amount of data. Everyone except Michael suspects a fault, but he knows that the monopole has been captured. However he keeps it secret and deliberately wastes time, waiting for the monopole to be transformed into a black hole, which he believes will be short-lived and harmless but fundamental for research.
But the black hole persists and emerges from the detector. Sam and Michael battle to prevent it absorbing the whole world but are themselves absorbed. Moments later fragments of mysterious blue crystal emerge from the black hole and time stops everywhere in the Universe except near these crystals.
Catriona can talk to Sam through her fragment, and he tells her she must collect all the others and bring them down a tunnel so Michael will be able to restart time and save the Universe. The only man who can help her is a womanising Hungarian entrepreneur Alex, with whom she has fallen in love but who seems completely unreliable.
The Cosmic Monopole is the first volume in the Time Crystal series from Penny Press, a scifi-fantasy-romance on an epic scale whose setting is nothing less than the whole history of the Universe.
This volume ends as Catriona finds and enters the tunnel. In future volumes she will embark upon an adventure that will take her back through time to the Big Bang and beyond. Catriona, Sam and others will struggle with particles and galaxies, with the very smallest and largest things in the Universe, as well as everything in between.
But as she travels back in time, little does she know that other things, terrible and dangerous beings from beyond the Universe, are coming up that same tunnel trying to reach the Earth for a sinister and diabolical purpose.