Ellie is a soldier in a world without governments.
A generation ago, a series of financial crises caused most of the world’s governments to collapse, and left many of the people in those countries in terrible personal debt. Since then, the worst debtor nations have been under military occupation by the troops of the debt-recovery corporations, and the worst debtor of all is Měi-guó, the old United States.
Ellie is serving in the Afghan Police Action when she receives bad news from home. She is told the daughter she hasn’t seen in years has died. She flies home, upset, to take care of the funeral and whatever else needs to be done, but once there she finds all is not as it seems.
Ellie’s daughter is alive and unhurt. She is being held hostage by one of the many debt-recovery corporations. By the corporation which, indirectly, Ellie works for. Held, for leverage, to make Ellie do the corporation a favour. Ellie’s daughter will be returned unharmed if Ellie does as they wish.
The son of a company director is lost somewhere in the wilderness of post-debt-restructuring America, and hasn't been seen for three days. The company wants Ellie to go and find the kid, but Ellie doesn't know if she can. She has always had one absolute rule all her working life, never go to America.
Now she might have to.
She will have to, if she wants to save the daughter she hasn't seen in years.