Nickie Randolph wants Greenhaven, her family’s ancient estate in the small town of Yonwood, to be her new home. She’s tired of Philadelphia, and with the world in the state it’s in, big cities aren’t safe. Neither her aunt nor her mother wants to take care of the big hulking house now that her great-grandfather has died, but Nickie talks her aunt Crystal into taking her along when she goes to fix up the house for sale, and she fully plans to spend that time convincing her aunt to keep the house so the family can move in and be together…someday, when her father gets back from his top secret government project. Since she’s got a plan anyway, Nickie adds two more goals: to fall in love, and to do something to help the world.
But things in Yonwood aren’t as perfect as she imagined. Like everywhere in the country, the town is worried about an almost inevitable war, but the town thinks it will be spared. A local citizen, Althea Tower, has had a vision from God of the world on fire, and now in a fevered fit she gives commands from the Lord. Most of the town’s members have decided to do their best to follow the Prophet’s orders, even when they’re hard and require sacrifices, like no singing. But things start to get worse as the world gets closer to war. People who don’t obey the Prophet are singled out and shunned, and are forced to wear electronic bracelets that produce noise designed to drive them crazy.
At first, Nickie thinks following the Prophet is the way to go…but when she inadvertently betrays her only friend in the town and almost gets an innocent man arrested, she starts to wonder. Then the Prophet gives an order that seems impossible to accept, and Nickie has to decide once and for all what she believes.