In America-Five, a high-tech, underground Utopia, five generations of people live in peace and comfort. Every variable—food production, medical care, childbirth—is carefully planned and controlled, and all citizens work toward one common dream: immortality in a perfect world.
Natasha Wiley works in the Office of Mercy, which is tasked with eliminating—or “sweeping,”—the nomadic survivors of a cataclysmic Storm, which centuries ago rattled the planet. The Office’s work is considered the paradigm of ethical behavior, humanely terminating the suffering so unavoidable in nature. The pain and anguish of an uncertain, mortal life—all ended in one merciful flash.
On the morning of one of the largest sweeps in America-Five’s history, Natasha wakes with an uneasy feeling and she can’t bring herself to celebrate as joyfully as her fellow citizens. When her mentor and colleague Jeffrey selects her to join a special team to venture Outside for the first time, Natasha’s doubts flood in: Is life inside the settlement the only option? Are the people beyond the settlement truly anguishing in their brutal environment?. . Are the sweeps as humane as Natasha has been taught?