This alien invasion begins: Laurie and Andy, two boys camping on Dartmoor, are the only survivors of the first encounter with a Tripod in England. On that visit, the invaders seem clumsy and easily vanquished; but their ability to control minds is soon demonstrated as most of the world rapidly becomes enslaved. The two boys, together with Laurie's father, grandmother, and sister, escape to Switzerland and remain free, vowing to discover other free people and fight the invaders. Coming 21 years after the original Tripod trilogy, this prequel serves chiefly to describe the establishment of the core of resistance that appears at the opening of The White Mountains. But, since it has the same swift action and sense of menace that has made the original books popular, both present and past generations of fans should greet this new chronicle with enthusiasm.