Itâ€™s 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember, and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the townâ€™s respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. Her garbled words are taken as prophetic instruction on how to avoid the coming disaster. If only they can be interpreted correctly. . . .As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the womanâ€™s mysterious utterances, Nickie explores the oddities she finds around townâ€”her great-grandfatherâ€™s peculiar journals and papers, a reclusive neighbor who studies the heavens, a strange boy who is fascinated with snakesâ€”all while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Is this vision her chance? Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war?In this prequel to the acclaimed The City of Ember and The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau investigates how, in a world that seems out of control, hope and comfort can be found in the strangest of places.From the Hardcover edition.