One hundred years after the zombie apocalypse, those lucky enough to survive now exist in scattered cities, under the merciless rule of the City Watch. A simple tenet overshadows all aspects of daily life: obey or die. When Jonah Lovecraft is framed for murder, his status as a Watcher doesn't spare him from the ultimate punishment: being cast into the Barrens and forced to battle zombies and other criminal contestants in the Darwin Games.
As he fights for every heartbeat, his daughter, Ana, embarks on her own desperate quest to uncover the truth about her father. Yet neither expects their efforts to reveal grim secrets that could tear apart the fabric of society - if either lives long enough to expose the truth.
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The Lovecraft family is in ruins. Their convict father, Jonah, roams The Barrens, near starvation, in search of his daughter, Ana. Only the hope of seeing her again keeps him alive. Meanwhile Ana, Liam, and Duncan have found temporary relief at a camp outside The Walls. Inside City 6, Jonah's young son, Adam, has been co-opted by Jonah's enemy, Chief Keller, and is being groomed as a City Watch spy.
Several months after Jonah's death, Adam Lovecraft is once again following in his father's footsteps, this time as a contestant in the infamous Darwin Games. In The State's latest iteration of The Games, the odds of survival are slimmer than ever before, and Adam soon finds himself pairing up with an old friend of Jonah's.