While trying to escape an avalanche triggered by the killers of the
First Families, Ivan drowned. Though this is a less permanent problem
that it used to be for the children, Ivan `returned' far from his
friends, in a small village in Brittany where he used to holiday with
his parents. There he lives alone, preparing for the long trip back
to Neo-Salem. Until the day Camille, now revealed as the Midnight
Child, pays him a terrifying visit, and the nightmare begins ...
Ivan, Leila, Camille, Terry, Dodzi. Five children who have never met each other, who live very different lives in a small city. Then, one day, they all wake up in their empty homes, walk out into empty streets and wander through the empty city... No adults, no other children; just the five of them eventually finding each other, and forced to band together to face the inevitable questions - and the dangers of a modern city suddenly emptied of its inhabitants.
In the abandoned town, the children have established a new home and organised a life for themselves. As they prepare for a trip to other cities in an attempt to determine the extent of the phenomenon that saw everyone else vanish, they encounter and learn to deal with the problems of an existence without adults. Until one day a tall, knifewielding figure appears, and their dream of finding someone else suddenly turns into a nightmare...
The time has come for war councils, as the elders of the First
Families prepare the coming campaign against their enemies of the
Last Families. They're still unsure about the leader they've chosen,
though - Saul. In response, the latter continues to slide deeper into
authoritarianism, and orders that the trials for switching families
now be fought to the death. A cruel move that will only stoke the
growing rebellion in Neosalem's population - one that Leila will
It's a sad day for the Campton kids: they've just discovered Dodzi's lifeless body at the foot of a building, shot once in the chest. Convinced that whoever killed him must have come from the red zone - the no man's land marked out by the monkeys' cairns - Leila and Ivan decide to send an expedition there. But none of the children could possibly imagine what awaits them inside the zone, no more than what will happen back at the camp.
After the terrifying discovery of the monolith in the red zone, the
children must now adapt to having Dodziback among them - something
they never expected. Problem is, Saul, too, is back, and the Clan of
theShark has relocated to Campton. While Ivan begins investigating
the 15 families that his father oncementioned, a territorial struggle
begins between the two groups - one that soon turns to open war.
AndSaul will stop at nothing to assert his authority.
Captured by a mysterious army just as they escaped a Campton overrun
with `zombie' children, Dodzi's group, along with what's left of the
Clan of the Shark, discover an entire civilisation, ruled over by
children who have been in the In-Between-World for a long, long time.
Strict rules, a caste system, bizarre superstitions... All new
obstacles for the group to overcome - although Saul is being treated
like a messiah. And over it all hangs the threat of the sinister
In the arenas, the Campton kids have won their `citizenship' of the In-Between-World's strange society. Now free to come and go as they please, they've left town for the mountains, following Dodzi without really knowing why. When the young boy explains to them that he is in fact trying to discover whether he is the herald of Evil - the Midnight Child - a violent dispute ensues. Meanwhile, hidden nearby, the soldiers of the First Families await an opportunity to attack...
The five Campton children are travelling to neighbouring cities by bus, desperately looking for other living humans. All they find are deserted settlements, burned forests and packs of feral dogs... Until one day they discover an amusement park filled with kids, all found and gathered by Saul, the owner's son. A strange, authoritarian child who worships the park's great white shark, and whose arbitrary rules are not at all to the taste of the newcomers...
The five children, now accompanied by several dissidents from the Clan of the Shark, have returned to Campton, where Ivan found some clues about the night of the Vanishing. One evening, as they are discussing the organisation of their new camp, the Master of Knives comes to ask for their help ... and collapses, gravely injured. Searching the city for what attacked him, the children are stunned to discover huge piles of objects covered in red paint...
The cold war between the Campton group and Saul's clan has finally erupted into open warfare, but the increasingly strange events that affect the abandoned city eventually silence even the most bellicose instincts: the red zone is sinking into the ground, and all of the children, regardless of their allegiance, are now trapped inside the `lowlands'. Their only chance to get out is to work together - if it isn't already too late...
Murdered by the First Families' war leader, Camille has finally shown
her true nature: she is the Midnight-Child, the envoy of Evil! Her
friends, however, don't know it yet, as they've all been scattered by
accident or treachery. Leila, imprisoned by Neosalem's authorities.
Dodzi, captured by their enemies of the Last Families. Ivan, presumed
dead ... Only Terry, the brat, has managed to escape along with the
Master of Knives. Not the most conventional of teams ...