It is the mid-1980's, during the Cold War. Ruth Beckett & Jimmy Kemp, residents of the British city of Sheffield are planning for their upcoming marriage and birth of their first child. Sheffield is home to a major R.A.F. base and has a major industrial base of steel production. But the Soviet Union marches troops into Iran, in a plan to convert it to a Soviet satellite state. The United States, the United Kingdom, and other members of NATO angrily condemn the Soviet aggression and military activity in the United Kingdom starts to mount, especially at the nearby R.A.F. base. The families of Ruth & Jimmy go about their daily business, paying little attention to what is going on in Iran. One spring day, without warning, the Soviet Union attacks the United Kingdom with ICBMs - two of which hit Sheffield, annihilating most of the city and its inhabitants. But what is even more horrifying is the aftermath that follows - a world without public order, clean food, water, electricity, or the ability to produce any of them. Ruth struggles for more than 10 years just to stay alive in this horrible, barren, radioactive homeland.