When Alva Martin is sent to a training camp with her two best friends, a violent plane crash leaves them stranded in an entirely new world. Previously free of any form of sexism or oppression, she feels the difference right away in Shiloh, where a rough man named Alexander runs The Serenity Compound. At the strange school for teens, Alexander promises to let them stay until help can arrive.
After only a few hours, Alva begins to feel how oppressive and unsettling their temporary home is. She learns that they believe in “The Culling”, a fancy way of saying that the world will end in two weeks due to a destructive race of aliens. Alexander believes it is his job to rebuild the world in a better way, along with the help of his best student. The gifted teen, Barnabas, begins to view Alva as his saving grace and enlists her in his attempt to break free.