After surviving a disease that killed off most of the adults in America, a separated group of survivors rejoin to deal with slave-holding armies. In this second book in the series, Carter is trying to survive with a new group of survivors, but a growing para-military power requires that he take the offensive to keep his freedom and life. The prologue shows an unidentified person being tortured in a flash forward. The book then opens some years after most of the group from the first book were taken away by force in helicopters. Caitlyn, who escaped, has grown up mostly alone searching for her sister Sara, Carter, and Jocelyn "Jo."
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Caitlyn comes across Walter in the woods who she works with in her search from time to time. He has heard about a new military base that may have answers. They attack a small compliment of unprepared guards and interrogate one of them. After they use the information to infiltrate the base, they find details about slave movements, but no clear details on Caitlyn's sister. Walter is killed during their escape. Caitlyn is captured.
Carter has begun a new relationship and is with a new community since escaping his captors, but he does not know the location of the others from the original group after being seperated during their years of slavery. Carter is a medic and takes part in assaults on the slave-holding army run by a former U.S. military officer that, though older, survived the disease that took out most other adults.
Carter helps plan an assault on a farm held by the army. After a heavy fire fight, the farm is taken and the slaves are freed. As they prepare to take the former slaves back to their community, Carter finds Jo among them. Jo tries to rekindle their former relationship, but Carter resists because of his current relationship.
The community decides to attempt a full assault on the army's fortified capital. To seek out additional weapons, Carter takes a group to attack another small facility. He finds Caitlyn being tortured as hinted in the prologue and they narrowly escape.
Carter makes an attempt to contact another enemy of the army to try to form an alliance. The group turns out to be the boys from the hotel that kidnapped Jo in the first book and killed her brother in the fighting. After a tense standoff, they come to an agreement to fight a common enemy.
The boys conduct a distraction attack on the front gate of the capital taking losses. Carter leads another team over the wall to try to assassinate the army leader. He is not in his home, but they find Caityln's sister Sara. Even though she does not want to leave, they take her.
Back at the community, they continue to plan and execute small surgical assaults on the holdings of the army. The army's search intensifies, but the community remains hidden.
The army locates the community and attacks. As homes are burned and people on both sides are lost, it is discovered that Sara alerted the army of their location and considers herself to be the army leader's wife. Sara reveals that she believes she is pregnant with his child, but this is not confirmed. A firefight breaks out as Sara tries to reach the helicopter. More lives are lost including Sara.
A few people escape alive including Carter, his girlfriend, Jo, and Caitlyn. The small group locates a valley with food growing wild and they settle in for the time being. As they repair one of their radios, they hear a broadcast which indicates a new strain of the original disease may be taking out the remaining survivors in a few large communities. The book closes with this revelation.
Best part of story, including ending:
The book creates distance and strain between the members of the original group, so they have to build their trust of one another back during the story instead of having those relationships to lean on.
Best scene in story:
The assault on the capital because it is exciting and is more intense than some of the other, smaller assaults earlier.
Opinion about the main character:
I like that Carter is placed in a position where he does not know how to deal with his feelings for Jo and he deals with the feeling that he failed on a promise he made to Jo's late brother to watch out for her and protect her.