Family members scattered across the U.S. struggle to survive following a life-changing volcanic explosion. When a massive volcanic explosion in Yellowstone Park five years ago shot ash and dust into the air, everyone expected there would be long-term problems. But five years after the fact, life in the U.S. is nowhere near normal. The land around the park is uninhabitable for hundreds of miles and the ash has drastically changed the climate. The world is much colder, with snow falling nearly year-round in places like Nebraska. In Southern California, police officer Colin Ferguson isn't just dealing with a climate that dumps an excess of rain and sometimes snow into L.A. He's also cleaning the mess left by his former boss, who turned out to be a serial killer.
Everyone is struggling to survive, as supplies begin to run low and the power grid is offline more than it's working. Two of Ferguson's boys are both living in places that are almost uninhabitable. Rob is living in Guilford, Maine, a small town where he and his former bandmates ended up following the Yelowstone disaster. The area is living a pioneer day experience, with no electricity or regular contact with the outside world. But he's also married a local woman and for all of the challenges, he and his bandmates have never been happier.
Bryce is living in Nebraska, working as a professor at Wayne State. There is electricity and hot water some of the time. But the winters are brutal and even the summer temperature barely reaches the 50s. Yet like many other people, for all of the struggles, he's happy to have a job and a place to sleep. The town is filling up with homsteaders transferred from refugee camps and he's reminded daily that things could be much worse.
Ferguson's third son Marshall lived with his father and new step-mother and he's trying to make a living as a writer in a world that often has more pressing needs. He makes some big sales - like a $10,000 sale to Playboy - but he still isn't where he hopes to be with his life.
When their father is shot and nearly killed in a gunfight, each son and the rest of their extended family are prompted to think about their place in the new world and what they might change. As their father recovers, each of the sons realize they wouldn't change much about their lives. Marshall decides to write his first novel, Bryce is happy in Nebraska. Or at least until he or his wife can find a job somewhere warmer. As for Rob, he has just become a father himself and while his life is a daily struggle, he realizes that in some weird way, the Yellowstone disaster was a good thing for him.
Best part of story, including ending:
While the characters and the premise are fascinating, the book tends to drag in places. When you've finished reading it, it doesn't seem as if much happened, which is a bit weird for a book that is set in such a challenging time.
Best scene in story:
The scenes with Rob and his wife in Guilford are the best ones in the book. In the five years since the disaster, he's transformed himself from a rock god to a family man who now knows how to hunt and fish. His life is what I would expect most people's lives to be like in this circumstance.
Opinion about the main character:
The best quality of Colin Ferguson's is his steady nature. His ex-wife felt he could be boring and unimaginative. But in the wake of the disaster, it's pretty clear that he is just the man you would want around you if you are hoping to survive.