"We were halfway up the spur when we heard it. Homer and Gavin and I, just the three of us... I'd say there were fifteen shots in the first volley, evenly spaced, lasting about twenty-five seconds... All the way down the spur I'd heard the scattered shots, getting closer as I got closer, and all the way down I tried to think of reasonable explanations for them, and I couldn't think of a single thing that made sense."
The town of Wirrawee is emerging from war, slowly, like a flower after a cold snap. Businesses are starting to reopen, the school has commenced classes once again, and local farmers are gradually repossessing their land. But it's not the same Australia as before the war. A new nation exists just a few miles away, a new border that separates Australia from its invaders. Or does it?
For Ellie Linton, being back on the farm with her parents is what makes the terrible things that happened during the war – the things she, Homer, Lee, Fi and the others had to do – all worthwhile. It's where she belongs.
But the war won't let her go. A devastating tragedy has shattered any hope she ever had to reclaim her life, or herself. It's a new kind of fight. And the enemy isn't always from the other side of the border.