Post-disaster/man vs. nature hybrid from sf veteran Dickson (Way of the Pilgrim; The Forever Man, etc.). Before the collapse of technological civilization, Jeebee Walthar was a professor who had discovered a formula that assessed and predicted the stability of a given culture. Now he hopes to preserve that knowledge and reach safety at his brother's farm in Montana. The dangers are manifold: his inexperience in survival techniques, paranoid farmers, suspicious travellers, and deadly bands of raiders. He acquires a companion, a wolf apparently accustomed to humans as a cub, and slowly learns how to communicate with the creature. Then Jeebee encounters Paul, a peddler in an armored wagon, along with his daughter Merry and companion Nick. In return for the goods he needs, Jeebee agrees to work for Paul, along the way accumulating necessary survival know-how. Finally, Jeebee departs to seek his brother, but not before he and Merry have fallen in love. Jeebee and Wolf narrowly survive an attack by a bear, and are forced to hole up for the winter. Then Merry shows up, starving and exhausted; the wagon was attacked by raiders, and Paul and Nick are dead. So JeeBee, Merry, and Wolf settle down to survive as best they may. Well handled but overly familiar, and with virtually no explanation for the collapse of civilization in the first place. The wolf lore helps.