Mike Wade roams the dystopian USA deserts with his crossbow, in search of his captive daughter Kara.
Bad things tend to happen in threes: because of global warming, the West is now completely on fire. The temperature has gone up everywhere by an average of 10 degrees F. They’ve lost control of the massive wildfires, which have scorched California, Nevada, Colorado, and the Southwest; the fires themselves are creeping eastward at seven miles per hour.
In the chaos, an authoritarian strongman has taken over the USA, promising to make short work of both the fires and the lawlessness. Finally, there are rumors that invaders from overseas have landed in California.
The problem for Michael Wade and his family is that his daughter Kara had been taking a year of college abroad in Mexico to specialize in Spanish. She hasn’t been able to make it home, and Wade has set off from Vermont by train and on foot, with his backpack and essentials, including a crossbow, to rescue her.
Along the way he joins other refugees on his treacherous journey to the Southwest, including Phoebe Tate, a funky young lady who made jewelry in the desert, Wiley James, a trucker from Wyoming who was forced to abandon his rig, and Jonesy, a riverboat captain who takes them down the Colorado River.
Wade only knows that his last communication from Kara came from Sierra Vista in southern Arizona. He’ll have to get there by whichever way he can, by river and desert.