The year is 2065, two decades after the great economic collapse that destroyed Western civilization. With its power broken and its cities ruined, life in the West continues in scattered communities. In rural Dorset, Jake Reed lives with his 14-year-old son and memories of the great collapse. Back in ’43 Jake was a rich young futures broker, immersed in the datscape of the world’s financial markets. He saw what was coming – and who was behind it. Forewarned, he was one of the few to escape the fall.
For 22 years Jake has lived in fear of the future, and finally it is coming – quite literally – across the plain towards him. Chinese airships are ibn the skies and a strange, glacial structure has begun to dominate the horizon. Under the rule of the mighty Tsao Ch’un, a resurgent China is seeking to abolish the past and bring about world peace through rigidly enforced order.
As Jake feared, with the coming of the Han, his life is once more at risk. All those years ago he was on a list of those influential Westerners to be killed – a list that remain active. Fate seems to have finally caught up with him. Yet fortune favours him still, for the man who captures him is none other than Jiang Lei, General of Tsao Ch’un’s Eighteenth Banner Army, better known as Nai Liu, “Enduring Willow”, the greatest Han poet of his age, and a man of honour and sensitivity.
Against all odds, Jake survives this ‘final’ test to earn himself a place within the Han’s brave new world. But can he adapt to the great mile-high world of levels?