The time is the early 21st century; the place is Australia. Cities are armed fortifications, their populations kept docile by the regular administration of government-approved drugs. Elsewhere, bands of desperate people roam the open countryside, abandoned by the powers that once shaped their lives. In the hills near a major city, a group of young people are struggling to survive. Drugs and sickness have taken their toll and they live in dread of the Patrol and its helicopter gunships. Kathy feels there would be a better life in the high country to the north; Liz rages and hurls her anger at the sky. Simon wanders through the forest, rediscovering survival skills from another time and the aged Campions watch over the young exiles and do what they can to help. Manfred stumbles into this strange community half-dead. He is nursed back to health but finds that his flight from the city has stolen his memory. He becomes obsessed and haunted by visions of ancient times. As he gropes his way to an unimaginable destiny, he and his rescuers are swept up by the forces preparing to reshape the world and ultimately bear witness to that which will be an ending and a new beginning for them all. Cover art by Fil Barlow.