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Brutal, agonizing convulsions simultaneously strike a quarter of the Earth’s population. There is no warning and no discernible pattern regarding race, age, gender, or region. The afflicted die within moments of one another. Seven minutes later they rise again and attack the living. The speed at which the disaster happens is too great for any organized response. Towns are overrun. The government and military find themselves unable to react. Civilization crumbles in a matter of hours.

By the end of the first day, the streets are filled with shambling corpses, mindless beings driven solely by the desire to feed. Jacob Thornton decides his only chance is to abandon his home. Fleeing the city, he travels north, encountering other survivors on the way. Together, they gather supplies, seek a place of safety, and discover through trial and error how to defend against the zombies. Yet, the creatures never stop moving, and they have begun to leave the population centers, spreading across the land.

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  • Chapter I - Jacob Thornton wakes to discover that during the night a quarter of the world's population suddenly and unexpectedly died. A few minutes later they reanimated and began to attack the living.

  • Chapter I Continued - Accompanied by Briana, a neighbor, Jacob flees his home in Texas and travels north, taking back roads and doing his best to avoid towns and cities.

  • Interlude - Nathan's Story. The tale of a young man who witnessed the initial change.

  • Chapter II - Jacob and Briana reach Anadarko, Oklahoma where they find a sizable group of survivors living in the town.

  • Chapter II Continued - After much consideration the pair decides to leave the town and continue traveling north. Anadarko is simply too close to Oklahoma City and the mass of zombies that certainly inhabit it.

  • Interlude - Laura's Story. The story of how the town of Anadarko survived, as told by one of the residents.

  • Chapter III - While traveling to Kansas, Jacob takes the time to teach Briana how to properly use a gun.

  • Chapter III Continued - Jacob and Briana meet other travelers, several of whom decide to join them in their journey north.

  • Interlude - Briana's Story. Briana relates what happened to her and her family when the change struck.

  • Chapter IV - The group suffers its first loss.

  • Interlude - Lizzy's Story. Lizzy shares her story of how she woke to the chaos, ran through town on foot, and rescued Lois and Mary.

  • Chapter V - The group continues its journey north, stopping in a small town where they make their first attempt at organized looting.

  • Interlude - Simon's Story. Simon Branson, who was working the nightshift when the change struck, tells the others what those first few hours were like.

  • Chapter VI - The group finally reaches their destination, the Nebraska National Forest, only to find another group of survivors already living there.

  • Interlude - Briana's Story. Briana concludes her story, covering the time between fleeing her house in the morning and meeting Jacob hours later.

  • Chapter VII - Jacob and Briana begin to explore the forest, something the survivors already in residence had been hesitant to do, and rescue a blind woman who had been hiding in her house since day one.

  • Interlude - Susan and Timothy's Story. Susan and Timothy, two of the survivors who had been hiding in the Nebraska National Forest from the beginning, share what happened on the night of the change and their efforts in the days following.

  • Chapter VIII - The group finishes their exploration of the Nebraska National Forest, selecting an isolated location in which to establish a permanent home.

  • Interlude - Miranda's Story. Miranda relates her experiences at the time of the change and how she managed to survive on her own.

  • Chapter IX - Jacob and his group, along with some volunteers from the nearby lake camp, begin to construct a wood fence, the intention being to use this as a simple defense while building something more long term.

  • Chapter IX Continued - The survivors leave the forest in order to raid a nearby town for supplies.

  • Interlude - Dean's Story. Camping within the national forest on that first dreadful day, Dean speaks of his experiences and how he met the church group.

  • Chapter X - Jacob leads an excursion to the nearby town of Chadron, discovering a small group of survivors who had been trapped inside a building.

  • Chapter X Continued - Zombies attack the lake camp in the middle of the night, and a few members of Jacob's group rush over in an effort to help.

  • Interlude - Diary. The group discovers a diary.

  • Chapter XI - Following the destruction of the lake camp, the survivors discuss what to do. Some decide to depart, to seek safety elsewhere. Others join with Jacob and his friends. This lone, small community chooses to remain in the Nebraska National Forest.

  • Interlude - Eric's Story. The story of Eric and a small group of survivors rescued from the ruins of Chadron.

  • Chapter XII - Receiving a radio message from a nearby settlement requesting help, a small group prepares to set out.

  • Interlude - Dean's Story. Dean encounters an old friend while hunting.

  • Chapter XIII - Jacob reaches the neighboring settlement which had requested assistance. It has been destroyed, and the people massacred.

  • Interlude - Log Book. A log book is discovered providing a glimpse of what was happening worldwide.

  • Chapter XIV - Trouble breaks out when some disgruntled residents attempt to seize power.

  • Chapter XIV Continued - The band of raiders who destroyed the other settlement arrive, intending to do the same within the Nebraska National Forest.

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