It s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It s also been six months of waiting for Alex s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive."