Millions have been wiped out by the plague called Cargo Flu, first spread by international shipping, air, land, and sea. The Remains series opens twenty years later in the inhabited parts of the City, where thousands of survivors lead more or less ordinary lives, and in an exile community south of the City, where a few score people who escaped the plague or were evicted from the City subsist on small farms and ranches.
Things have changed in twenty years. The City is living on borrowed time, slowly but surely running out of things to salvage, but using all its ingenuity mainly to postpone the day of reckoning. The exile community has survived, and grown, and people are thinking about the next steps, about how to move beyond basic survival, about creating laws and organizing a government.
The Cage is the first novel, in which organization, both the new exile government and the Corporation that runs the City, elevate everyday life, but also breed ambition. Ambition plays by its own rules, and with unexpected results. How long can it all last? There may be an answer, a way to move forward and build a world. But the main characters have to survive long enough to understand the question.
The second novel, A Very Religious Man, relates the daunting struggle to restart an industry amid a swirl of religious fervent, the compromises of politics, and a secret program of war-drugs.