On an afternoon in early March, the world gets hit with some kind of phenomenon that causes all energy sources to stop functioning. Basically all forms of combustion stop working the way they used, even steam power doesn't work. Bullets no longer fire, explosives have no effect. It's like the properties of physics are instantly "Changed". Suddenly modern society must survive as they did in the ages before modern science and technology.
This story is told from the perspective of two very different people. Mike Havel is former soldier and pilot who now makes his living as a bush pilot in the American West, shuttling wealthy families to their ski lodges and remote ranches during the holidays and summer. When the Change hits, he is high above the wilds of Idaho with the Larssen family, Ken and Mary, their 18 year old twins, Eric and Signe, and their youngest child, 14 year old Astrid. Mike manages to crash land the small plane on a river in the forest but they barely make it out alive and Mary Larssen is severely injured.
Meanwhile, back in the Oregon town of Corvallis, Juniper Mackenzie and her 13 year old daughter, Eilir, are at a local pub where Juniper is performing. Junie is a folk singer and a High Priestess for a local Wiccan coven. She and Eilir are performing at her friend Dennis's pub, then heading to Eugene where they were to meet others from their coven for a celebration. Juniper is in the middle of her set at Dennis's when the Change occurs. The lights go out across the city, cars just stop running, planes fall out of the sky, and fires erupt when they start hitting the city. Chaos ensues and mob mentality takes little time to emerge, especially once the mob realizes that the cops can't shoot them; guns don't fire anymore. Juniper is, what is called in the Craft, a healing witch so she and Dennis and Eilir head out to help in whatever way they can. They soon realize that the safest place to be will be far from the cities and make their way quickly to Juniper's old cabin on family land up in the hills.
Thus begins the struggle to survive in a new reality. The two groups do what they must to protect themselves and their families. They form two very different types of communities and the way they manage to survive and even thrive is very interesting. This is the first in a series and was a little slow going through the first of the book but the second part was fairly quick reading and action packed. I will be looking for the next one in the series.