This is the second book in the Dark age Dawning trilogy and picks up a few years after "the Change" and the first book takes place. This follows Dr. Chris Welsh who has been wandering alone thru the desert region of the southwest. When the Change occurred, technology crumbled and many were inflicted with a dual animal form and perished when they couldn't complete their first shift. The most deprived and criminal element's beast form was zombielike dogs that appeared as carnivorous hellhounds. Chris' PhD is actually an animal science and the study of large cats but after the change there are few survivors and he is the closest to a medical doctor any survivors have seen. So the little community he discovers is the first civilized group he's come upon in all the years of travel, and welcomes him hoping to use his medical skills. Valle de Bravo is ran by a determined woman, Rosa and her band of " Bravos". They guard the highway pass and high jack any trucks that attempt to travel thru without paying a toll. They fight day to day survival by fighting sand pirates, hellhounds, and the fear of skin walkers, who were successful in accepting and shifting into their animal forms. Females are also rare after the change and there are a high ratio of men to women which creates tension in Valle as all the males vie for the attention of the few females left. Chris adds another competitor for the few females and when he is attracted to Rosa, he tries to assist her in holding onto her leadership that is challenged by a few of the alpha males in Valle. With women as a rarity this also deals with kidnapping, rape, trafficking and pregnancy after the Change. The pace of the book was good and the romance wasn't a given, Chris has to work for it and overcome Rosa's trust issues. They also had to deal with the new gifts the Change brought and Chris' new premonitions. I really enjoyed the world building and the struggle to survive that you are immersed in while reading this story and the events that bring hope into this group of survivors.