This is where it begins. This is where the end of the world begins? She wakes up alone and feeling like she's half-dead. She can't remember her name. She staggers outside, looking for help--and that's when she sees that the dead have returned to life, that zombies are running in the streets and devouring the living. And she's one of them. She isn't breathing. The zombies leave her alone. Because they know she's one of their kind. And yet she differs from the brainless ghouls around her in some crucial ways. Somehow she's kept her intelligence intact, if not her memory. And being dead has certain compensations. She has developed strange powers. She calls herself Nilla, and all she knows is that staying alive only gets harder after you die? Meanwhile the National Guard has its hands full with the worst epidemic ever to strike the American west. From California to Colorado every town, every city is being overrun. Captain Bannerman Clark isn't prepared for this. He's semi-retired and he hasn't fired a gun in years, not since the Vietnam war. Yet it seems there's no one else around to take charge. As the world we know collapses he must find in himself the brains, the guts, and the moral courage to lead the survivors to safety, if there's any to be had. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, shadowy players are just beginning to show their hands. There's more going on here than meets the eye, and Clark and Nilla both have parts to play in a game they can't comprehend?