Allexa Smeth has believed in being prepared ever since she got caught up in a grocery store mob hours before a big snow storm in Detroit. Many years later she s living a quiet and peaceful life in a remote region of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and still preparing. This serves her well when a horrendous natural disaster rocks the entire country and brings all shipping to a halt, leaving many without food and other necessary supplies. In her small town of Moose Creek, Allexa serves as the little needed emergency manager, but is called on when many start to feel the effects of the food and gas shortage and they don t know where else to turn.
The nearby county seat is overwhelmed and leaves Allexa to handle the problems that arise on her own. With the crisis worsening, power plants begin to divert electricity to the major cities, leaving the town a casualty of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few. With this happening at the beginning of winter, the timing couldn t be worse. The lack of heat pushes the residents to the limits of endurance; some leave for the city to be taken care of, others stay only to die of exposure, starvation or illness. Still others that have stayed survive by working together, only to be attacked by outsiders wanting what little the town has left. As the winter progresses, more and more issues come up for Allexa to deal with, some of a very personal nature. Her son turns to her for help in caring for his autistic child when his wife goes missing. She then learns to prioritize and she learns she can t save everyone.