As Emily St. John Mandel introduces the story, a King Lear play stage performance begins. Arthur Leander, who is a well-known actor, dies. An EMT trainee, Jeevan attempts to save him but is unable, and he dies a few moments later. His death is witnessed by a little girl called Kirsten. Jeevan is called by his ER Doctor acquaintance informing him about an aircraft from Russia that has sick passengers. The flue ends up killing 99% of the populace.
The story comes back after 15 years. By then, civilization is a language that humans do not understand. There exists broken governments, fallen economies, no electricity, and proper settlements are just beginning to come up.
Kirsten is mature and is among actors who are moving from one city to the next performing the plays by Shakespeare. Two of her friends, Jeremy and Charlie, abandoned the symphony to take care of Charly before she delivers. After two years, the harmony could not locate the two members (Jeremy and Charlie) as they had been swept away by the prophet of doom.
The orchestra tries everything possible to recover them. They go to a place in Sovern City where they believe they will find them. There are flashbacks to tell readers about the locations of characters such as Jeevan and Miranda in the old days before civilization collapsed. Arthur ended up marrying three times. On the other hand, Clark, who loved punk-rock studied and attained a Ph.D. Kirsten loved acting and was Arthur’s friend when she was young. Miranda’s boyfriend was abusive, and she left him and went to Hollywood. Jeevan, a gentleman previously a paparazzo looked for something more intriguing and found it in EMT.
As the group left the location, a stowaway walks amongst them. It comes in the form of a little girl who had been promised to become the prophet’s fourth wife. Sydney, Sayid, and Dieter who are among the group disappear mysteriously. August and Kirsten also go missing. The group encounters the prophet who had abducted other members. Dieter dies when held by the prophet. Fortunately, the prophet gets shot dead by a little boy who was with him.
August, Sayid, and Kirsten are found near the airport. They also get Clark. Jeremy and Charlie have a daughter called Annabel. There are signs of an electric grid which shows things are bound to get better soon.