"Shoot first, ask questions later."
That's the motto for the world after the apocalypse. After their perilous escape from the wreckage of Washington, DC, the surviving kids reach the Mountain Place only to discover their troubles have just begun. Fifteen year old Nester, who had been on the fast track to success before the bombs, has no skills for his new life: tending animals, keeping the fires lit and guarding their safe house against intruderes. Buffeted by threats both internal and external, Nester must put aside his own guilt and grief to take care of the others. Then, as nuclear winter sweeps over them, killing both crops and animals, a medical emergency threatens one of their number. Nester's desperate choice shatters their little community and alters their chances of survival forever.