The cities were all gone, the people were gone, too. And the children. All dead. A nation divided, turns on itself with brutal, primitive cruelty, unleashing the ghastly mutations of blistering chemical warfare that leave a desolate wasteland where the United States once flourished… Menaced by roaming bands of scavengers, alone and lonely on a remote West Virginia farm, Neena and her aunt battle to carve a marginal existence from the ashes of an annihilated civilization. Suddenly Neena s missing uncle arrives out of the north, shattering their uneasy peace with his haunting memories, his worldly ways, and violent passions. Against her will, the woman-child Neena is forced to choose her destiny in the shape of two men. One, handsome and vital, teaches her hatred and fear; the other, horribly transformed by the chemical Change, lays bare the intricacies of the human heart. Will Neena bow to the demands of kin and blood, or brave the gentle path, sowing fresh seeds of hope in a savage future no one can second guess?