[2020 Watty Award Winner] After the first Pandemic, the only safe place from the infected is behind walls. Only a few brave souls risk going beyond them to trade for their city's survival: the Runners. ***** Extended Summary: 400 years after the first Pandemic season destroyed civilization, the only safe place from the infected is behind walls. Only a few brave souls risk going beyond them to trade for their city's survival: the Runners. Seventeen-year-old Rook Haxley can't imagine leaving the safety of her village's massive steel walls. Not since she watched as her parents were exiled outside them with the other infected villagers six years ago, leaving her to care for her four siblings. But when her older brother, the village's lead Runner and their family's breadwinner, is injured and a blood infection threatens his life, Rook volunteers to take his place. Even if it means confronting the cannibalistic shells of her parents outside the walls. Hundreds of miles across the wastelands of the Wandering, in the neighboring stone-walled city of Bardeen, resources and food are plentiful. They have the medicine Rook needs to save her brother's life. But when disaster strikes Bardeen and their crops are destroyed, all of the walled cities in the Territory face starvation. Suddenly, more than just her brother's life is at stake. Rook's team of Runners must work together with Bardeen's, led by the charismatic ladies' man, Beau Galloway. To save their cities, they'll risk the longest journey yet to the city of Lux, which no one has heard from in over a decade. Within Lux's enormous domed walls technology has survived: technology that could save them all. If they can survive the tens of thousands of infected in their path.