Humanity has paid the price for genetic modification, with AIs taking control and trying to sort out the mess we have created. With cities in ruins, the population has splintered and dwindled, with villages with their own AIs attempting to undo the genmod which has created human/animal hybrids; and roving AIs taking control of humans, the red Plague Birds that patrol the countryside, dispensing summary justice.
The story follows a young woman, a recent victim of a lupine-urged attack on her by her boyfriend. When the Plague Bird arrives, that crime, and the actions of the local nomadic hunters, have to be addressed.
It’s a clever backdrop to a story, and Sanford evidently notes his interest in the primary character, so more may be forthcoming.