Brown effectively paints a bleak, desert and deserted Earth. Extremely hot, oceans dry, and with only a small number of humans remaining, ekeing out a life as best they can. Life is increasingly brutal, and short.
There is some glimmer of hope for humanity, Project Phoenix, which has sent a crew of 500 on an interstellar journey – perhaps they are now on an alien planet, with a new hope. When two small groups of travellers come together, more about humanity, and Project Phoenix is revealed. And it ain’t all good.