In another millennia, the last dying remnants of the Winauwan empire are planning a stroke that will wipe out not just Edward and Marianne, but all of civilization. They intend to rise from the ashes and the blood and rule. Only one young mother stands in their way.
Siblings Josh and Claire were out with a detail of locals trying to replant the Selkirk area following the previous summer’s fire when the ash hit. They had seen a lot of ash, but not like this. This was a wall two miles high that swept through and buried everything. Everything.
Some said it had to be the result of a volcanic eruption. As far as anyone can tell, the two-score people who have made their way to the valley are the last people left alive in the world. Everyone is trying to survive, but Josh is determined to thrive.
Josh Overstreet and his sister Claire have been carving a life out of the ash for more than half a decade, unsure whether anyone yet lives outside the small valley where they have established their town of Overstreet with two dozen others.
Then Deanna Pembleton stumbles into the valley, asking for help for herself and her friends. Claiming they have eked out a life much like that of the people of Overstreet, she begs assistance, which Josh is willing to give. She is, however, clearly unhinged on some level. Could the people she is claiming to want to help just be figments of her imagination?
Jerry was just a college kid trying to catch one more weekend of fun before senior year when the ash hit. His college, his home town, his family—all wiped out in the blink of an eye. With the nation teetering on the edge of ruin, he joins the military to help with the search and rescue but finds that the powers that be want to use this natural disaster as cover for an unnatural war. The last war. Winner take all that’s left.
In the satellite photos, though, he sees evidence that the lands where he grew up might still have some green grass. With no idea whether anyone still lives there, Jerry dreams of someday returning to those pastures, even if it means living there all alone.
Meanwhile, Josh, Adaline, Claire and the rest of the denizens of the last valley have built a thriving community—and even have contact with another community across the mountains. But a disease is sweeping through Overstreet, one that could wipe them all out. Twenty years before, the cure would have been easy to affect, but now, their isolation may be their doom.
They can only pray for a miracle.