We were probably doomed from the moment the computer virus hit the airports. Several years after a global meltdown, New Zealand, along with the rest of the world, is still in chaos. No electricity, no broadband, and people are in survival mode - at least until somebody turns the lights on again. Ruth has always led a sheltered life. Pre-Crash, she worked as an Ephemera Librarian, now she is managing a simple, self-sufficient lifestyle. But her sister is dying from tuberculosis and her love for Juliana propels Ruth to undertake a perilous journey. She intrepidly sets off from Auckland to find the man known as Nelson and his rumoured stockpile of pharmaceutical drugs. Word has it he is based at the old Huka Lodge. Along with the handsome Lance Hinckley and enigmatic Adebowale Ackers, Ruth travels by steamboat up the Waikato River - the only practical way. Her journey up the river in search of the drugs that could save her sister is as tortuous and unpredictable as the river itself. She cannot afford to trust any of her motley travelling companions, all of whom are compromised, possibly treacherous, and her journey's end promises nothing. The group journeys through settlements that have sprung up along the river as people try to re-establish their lives in this precarious time. With society itself broken, will Ruth manage to keep her commitment to her sister without compromising her own values? Inspired by Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, this post-apocalyptic, partly comedic novel reveals that things are not always what they seem.