A virus has wiped out 95 per cent of the world's population in just a few weeks, leaving the remaining 5 per cent to stay alive in a world devoid of the most basic amenities - electricity, transport and medicine. The few survivors of the human race are forced to fall back on the most primitive skills in order to live and re-establish some semblance of law and order. Abby Grant, widowed by the plague, moves through this new dark age with determination, sustained by hope that her son, who fled his boarding school at the onset, has survived. She knows she must relearn the skills on which civilisation was built. With others, she founds a commune and the group return to the soil. But marauding bands threaten their existence. For Abby, there's a chance for a new life and love when she encounters James Garland, the fourteenth Earl of Woodhouse, who is engaged in a desperate fight to save his ancestral home. But more important, she must find her son.