In The Aftermath, Julie Atwood is settling into a new normal in remote Smoky Flats, along with her son and father. While the US continues spiraling into violence and instability, Julie and her family hone their survival skills as they prepare to endure their first harsh winter in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. Joining with others and building new friendships, Julie bolsters Smoky Flats' security, sense of community, and commerce among residents. Together, they protect themselves from outside intruders, mountain lions, and food shortages.
Meanwhile, back in Oregon, life for Julie's ex-husband, Steve, and his new infant worsens. He falls victim to a crumbling employment sector and housing crisis, and is forced to live in horrendous conditions while working to further a radical liberal agenda. His money and supplies are quickly dwindling, and nearby protests are becoming more violent. Before long, Steve is beholden to a local gang and their demands on him become a matter of life or death.
Although hundreds of miles apart, Julie and Steve's worlds collide when circumstances become so grim that he is forced to ask for Julie's help to save his daughter's life. Julie is now faced with a dilemma. She must weigh her moral obligation to help an innocent person against putting her own life in danger to do so.
In this second book of the A Great State trilogy, the everyday realities for those who prepared clash with the realities of those who did not. Lives are lost, and danger and uncertainty creep around every corner. Despite it all, there remains a sense of hope and renewal, and a vision for a future when people and the country can thrive again.