Cody and Carolyn Redford enjoy a carefree lifestyle in Kent County, with friends Gavin and Melanie Maynard. In Cornwall, the Redfords encounter a soothsayer predicting a bleak future for mankind. The foursome then notes some unexplained changes in the behaviour of wild animals and migrating birds, giving credence to the prediction. When a terrorist outrage in South Africa leads to further major atrocities in Israel and India, détente finally fails. Global nuclear war is sparked off by an unforeseen source, resulting in the superpowers exchanging H-bomb punches like drunken boxers. In the midst of survival, Cody Redford becomes aware of the artificial insemination and incubation (AI2) programme, an initiative hatched in the Cold War years to store the sperm of prominent scientists with the objective of using surrogate hosts to factory farm children in a post-holocaust world. Though appalled, nonetheless, he resigns himself to supporting the programme, unaware of the significant down the road consequences to the nature of human life.