The final book charts the story of the family’s attempt to deal with the wreckage of the past year and their struggle to help rebuild a city decimated by a year with no power.
What they encounter when they return to the city is beyond anything they could have imagined. They can smell the stench of corpses as they approach the city on abandoned highways, driven by a neighbour in a bio-diesel fuelled car. A year without power has devastated the city. Houses have been stripped of wood and car tires have been removed, trees along streets and in parks have been felled – all burned over the course of the winter. Everywhere there is broken glass and garbage. The streets are generally deserted, except for the downtown core where barriers have been erected to separate the buildings heated and cooled by Lake Ontario’s deep-water system from the rest of the city. Even with the power restored, outside the barriers, there are few lights on at night for fear of robbery or worse.
Against this backdrop, Karen, Brian, and even Robin get to work, trying to salvage whatever is worth salvaging, trying to rebuild what needs rebuilding. Brian connects with his old friend Ali and they begin work re-imagining how the city’s infrastructure can provide for the population in the new world order. Karen struggles to find meaning in a city that is no longer meshes with her old self. And Robin discovers a love of the theatre as she spends her days at a collective daycare/arts hub while her parents go to work.
More than anything, they are trying to find hope and a new understanding of who they are and how to be together as a family in this new life.