Return to the world of The End of All Things thirty years later...
A generation has passed since the pandemic known only as the Infection ended the world as we know it. In a little town in the Appalachian Mountains, Taylor has known only a harsh and brutal struggle for survival in a land littered with the rusted-out remnants of a lost world. By day, she labors in a coal mine. In the evenings, she tends a secret collection of beehives, and uses the honey to pay for lessons in survival skills, such as hunting, fishing, and collecting herbs. Her home is a single room in a crumbling old motel, and her only companion is a pet box tortoise named Go she’s had since she was a child.
When her town is destroyed by a vicious gang of raiders known as the Nine, Taylor escapes with Dylan, the son of the mayor. Their only plan is to head south and escape the Nine’s vast territory, avoiding areas contaminated by meltdowns and industrial pollution where mysterious illnesses plague the residents.
Dylan has never known hunger or hardship and struggles to learn survival skills. He’s never known a woman like Taylor, either. He tries to pay her back by teaching her to read, and telling her the stories passed down from the world of Before.
They certainly didn’t plan on falling in love. Taylor fights it every step of the way, because in her world, any emotional attachment is dangerous. She’s been taught since childhood that love slows you down, makes you weak. But the feelings growing between them cannot be denied.
Taylor finds herself slowly breaking every one of her hard-learned rules of survival. She discovers that perhaps some of those things she’s always fought to avoid are the very things that make life worth living.
… And death shall have no dominion …
“Hey,” said a voice behind her.
Taylor whirled around, bringing the bat up to strike. She hadn’t even heard him, and that’s what terrified her.
The young man behind her jumped back, putting his hands up. “Whoa, whoa, don’t hit me.”
She quickly scanned his arms and didn’t see any tattoos. She squinted at him, cocking her head to the side. “Don’t I know you?”
He looked vaguely familiar. He was just a bit taller than Taylor was, a little on the skinny side. His brown hair was neatly trimmed, and his jawline smoothly shaven with a hint of stubble poking through. He had dark circles beneath his blue eyes, and his pale skin had the look of someone who didn’t work outside much. She guessed him to be about her own age, somewhere in his early twenties.
The mayor’s son. Now the memory clicked into place. “What are you doing here?”
“The same thing you are, I imagine. Escaping from that.” He pointed to the plume of dark smoke in the distance.
“How did you find me?” Taylor’s heart thudded in her chest. She didn’t think she’d been followed, but Dylan had managed to track her.
She forced herself to take a deep breath. If the Nine knew where she was, she’d be dead now.
“I saw you in the woods about a mile back and followed you here.”
God, was she so easy to follow? She’d thought she was being careful. “I didn’t think anyone else made it out.”
“Me either.” He shook one of his raised hands. “Do you mind lowering the bat?”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “Depends on what you want.”
That took him aback for a moment. “I—I don’t know. I just saw another survivor and thought . . .”
“This is my place,” Taylor said. “Mine.”
He nodded. “Yeah, I get you.”
Taylor lowered the bat. “You’d best move on.”
He gave a hollow, humorless laugh. “Where?”
“Like I care? Anywhere but here.” She couldn’t imagine he would have worried over what might happen to her if he was in her shoes.
He glanced around. “May I— I’m sorry, but I’ve been running all night. Just like you have, I imagine. Would it be okay if . . . I could rest for a bit? Maybe have some of those berries?”
Taylor considered. She needed them for travel. She should tell him to piss off and find his own bush. She should tell him everyone was on their own in this world. She should tell him . . .
She thought of Grace. Grace who had sat down on the sidewalk beside Taylor as they carried her mother out and laid a hand over Taylor’s shoulder and asked if she had any supper.
“You pick ‘em,” Taylor said. She began to pluck berries and drop them in her bag.
DOMINION will be released in December, 2016