The main character is condemned on a trumped up charge of murder in order to use him as a ‘loose cannon’ in a society which is run by an elite monitory group supported by their Proctors and guards.
The location is many years into the future when after several punishing nuclear wars the worlds remaining population is reduced to living in isolated cities where they can only exist in totally enclosed shielding to protect them from a strange type of radiation which seems harmless to crops and some animals but harmful to humans.
The original complex was built deep underground and was originally the London nuclear command bunker for the UK, slowly it developed into an enclosed city with five levels below the surface and another seven above.
All these levels are connected by an automatic railcar system which due to the acute shortage of people to maintain it is in danger of coming to a standstill. As punishment for his crime and with no death penalty,our character is sentenced to manual labour for life to work in the various service departments of the city as required.
Having been employed all his life in the transport system, anonymous people in the hierarchy sympathetic to the idea of a fairer city council manage to arrange for him to return to the now silent transport workshops to put some of the rolling stock back into service.
In this way they hope he will be able to become a ‘loose cannon’ and re activate the movement or change. In this environment our character manages to meet other people forced to live in the ‘no go areas of the city. These people are sought by the city guards whose aim is to crack down on such things as demonstrating against the ruling city council or making any adverse comments in any way.
Circumstances are arranged so that they join forces and slowly start to organise themselves while living a cat and mouse existence with the authorities.
Eventually they are instrumental in bringing things to a head and the start of a change.