A community wakes to find power has ceased, cellphone are mute, and the radio plays only an empty growl. Doom approaches. A doom that is as sudden as it is mysterious. A doom that seems plausible and imminent to Americans who find themselves inhabiting lives they never anticipated in an empire that doesn’t resemble the futures they were promised in more hopeful days. More
Briarwood is a tight clover of cul-de-sacs adrift in a sprawl of office parks and strip malls. It's a development that bottles the affordable comfort and easy commute that is the birthright of every 21st Century American - a development that allows dreamless men and women the illusion of success in the face of lives that have settled into flat trajectories. On a Saturday morning, it all disappears. Electricity is vanquished. Cellphones connect to nowhere. Radios and televisions beam nothing but dead air. And, most ominously, Cincinnati sits under a cloud of smoke, only twenty miles away.
Norman Quinn finds himself in the middle of the growing decline. He is a man consumed by loss and pursued by memories of mirth and success. What he discovers upon leaving Briarwood is bleaker and more malevolent than anything he could have imagined. Over the course of the day, the collapse of society inspires brutality, hopelessness, and resignation as Norman and his countrymen struggle to stay alive, facing desperation and violence at every turn. Their biggest foe proves not to be the forces of evil that roam the exurbs, but the dejection that rots from within. For some, the decline and fall of the United States becomes an unburdening; it becomes an escape from lives that were freighted with disappointment and fear long before the ash fell and the cities burned.