It has been six years since plague, famine, and war ravaged the planet. World powers have collapsed. The human population has been reduced by 90 percent, and those who survived must always contend with a novel apex predator: human beings whose very DNA has been radically altered by the plague.
In a quiet valley in Northern California, a settlement of survivors called the Redoubt is threatened by Colin Horner, a savagely pragmatic ranch boss, whose land they’ve been squatting on for years. With barely any ability to defend themselves, all they can do is try to forestall Horner’s demands for a quantity of food they’re incapable of growing. But as the clock runs out for the Redoubt, a small group of heavily armed individuals shows up out of the blue, led by a man with a scarred face and a missing eye.
Lee Harden might be scarred and battered, but he is a professional warfighter, with years of near-constant combat experience and one mission: find settlements beyond the current reach of the Interim Government, give them hope, and keep them alive. Backed by his longtime team of operators, Lee aims to resolve the conflict between the Redoubt and Horner. But something strange is going on in this seemingly quiet valley. Someone is breeding hybrids—part human and part mutated apex predator—and using them as a weapon.
When peace talks between the Redoubt and Horner go bad, Lee finds himself stuck in the middle of a seething conflict that’s about more than just land. As the valley unravels into chaos, Lee and his team gamble with their lives to unravel a convoluted network of lies, secret obsessions, and ties that bind, in order to learn just who it is they’re protecting, and what exactly they’re protecting them from.
In his first-ever stand-alone Lee Harden novel, DJ Molles immerses you in a world of gritty realism and slippery morality, filled with characters that just want to do the right thing—if they can figure out what that is.