A post-apocalyptic world; a struggle to survive; an experiment with human guinea-pigs - and it all goes wrong. There are many human stories told here - love stories, power struggles and conflict. At its heart is a mother-daughter relationship. A sad, affecting tale of a young girl coming to terms with life.
On their way back, they came across a rattlesnake in the grass, and before she could warn him the snake struck out at Jake. But he'd already altered his path, arcing away from where the snake was. He hadn't acknowledge it or jumped, or even asked, What's that sound?, which she would have expected since he was so new. He never broke his pace, and kept going on about the Myth of the Private Lands, as he called it, which Agnes had tuned out of once she heard the first tell-tale shakes of the rattle.