William “Willie” Leadford is a brash and rebellious young socialist smitten with a young woman named Nettie, whom he has grown up knowing since childhood. Both are a part of the English lower classes at the dawn of the 20th century at a time when England and Germany have gone to war. As the story unfolds a comet has been observed on a collision course with the Earth. More distressing to Willie, Nettie has run off with another man named Verrall who is the wealthy son of the local landowner where Nettie's family lives and he is a few years older. Willie, still living at home with his mother whom he treats poorly, is enraged and vows to take revenge on the runaway couple, acquiring a revolver and pursuing them to the English coastal town of Shaphambury. After days of fruitless searching he comes upon the young couple and suddenly begins firing off shots and running after them as they flee. At the same time, a German ship is firing large guns upon the town as several British gunboats just offshore fire at the Germans, all of which Willie pays no attention to. Just before catching up to the lovers, Willie trips and falls unconscious.
The comet has smashed into the Earth and a green vapor is released putting everyone to sleep until three hours later when the change in the atmosphere has dissipated. The altered state that the world awakens to is very subtle. Humankind has a new socialist view on life and strives now to create a utopian order by righting the wrongs of the past. The war between Germany and Britain is immediately ceased. Soldiers can't even remember why they are lying on the ground with rifles next to them! Slums are being torn down to make way for safe and humane housing for the poor under-class.
Several days later Willie, having abandoned his revolver, comes upon Verrall and Nettie admitting his previous anger and rage. All is forgiven and Nettie even suggests she share the two men in her life rather than have to do without either one. Willie, now feeling empathy and love for his mother, returns home to be with her. She ends her days residing in the great manor house of Lord Redcar that was converted to housing for the elderly at the behest of its owner. Most of the ancient restricted private lands have been opened up for the public's use. Life is now peaceful and everyone is equal to one another thanks to the effects of the comet's collision with the Earth.
The review of this Book prepared by David Fletcher