Set in the near future and inspired by the captivating myth of the warrior queen Califia, this brilliantly inventive novel tells the story of a small, peaceful community of women tucked away in a world gone mad.Only the elders of the Valley remember life the way it used to be, when people traveled in automobiles and bought food others had grown. When the ratio of male to female was nearly the same. Before the bombs fell, and a deadly virus claimed the world's men.Now, civilization's few surviving males are guarded by women warriors like Dian, the Valley's chief protector, as fierce and loyal as the guard dogs she trains. When an unexpected convoy of strangers rides into her village, it is Dian who meets them, ready to do battle.To her surprise, the visitors come in peace and bear a priceless gift, whose arrival is greeted with as much suspicion as delight. And indeed, the strangers want something in return, a request that could change the future of the Valley into one of hope--or utter desolation.It is up to Dian to discover their motive, in a journey that will cost her far more than she ever imagined, a journey from which she may never return.From the Paperback edition.