In the story the society of Waknuk which is located in the middle of Labrador, has survived a nuclear war. The people refer to it as the Tribulation. Even though the war happened a long time ago, radiation still contaminates the world outside the small community. If the people of the Waknuk society discover any living species or plant that is contaminated they eliminate it.
The main character and also the narrator of the story is David Strorm, him and his small group of friends including his sister Petra , all posses E.S.P. (extrasensory perception), his family is also very religious. He was taught in his childhood years that the discovery of any deviant plant, animal or man had to be destroyed as he was told that the devil is the father of deviation. David's father , Joseph Strorm, was considered by the society of Waknuk to be a leader in the pursuit of the deviations.
At the beginning of the story David meets Sophie Wender and discovers that she is a physical deviant with six toes on each foot. Both she and her family are forced to leave the Waknuk. David is scared for his own life when he realizes that he and his group of E.S.P. friends are also deviants, because of their ability to communicate with each other in through thought or by telepathy. Him ,Sophie, and his sister eventually get caught and are forced to leave to the outskirts of the land. There the other deviant people capture them. During this time Petra kept in touch with a distant civilization in New Zealand using her strong telepathic powers. The people of New Zealand who are all telepathic rescue the three of them right in the middle of the battle between the Waknuk and the deviants.