While relatively compact at 662 pages, The End We Saw is an expansive and as-realistic-as-possible view of the apocalypse from a group of Londoners. While either underground in the Tube or aboveground in a sheltered location like the radiology department of a hospital, a presumably worldwide life-ending event eventually known as the Pulse takes place at 11 am on August 29. The power goes out city-wide, and when the protected emerge, everyone is dead, the city is on fire, and within a few days buildings begin to collapse. Survivors have headaches and nosebleeds, which often lead to death.
However, some emerge from the pain with powers, such as the ability to levitate, use air as a force, freeze people, heal the injured, use electricity as a weapon, or experience visions. The five novels of The End We Saw explore the interactions of one group of survivors, who just want to live in peace, with another group led by a messianic death merchant.
Stolen Visions: It’s been about a month since the Pulse occurred, as it’s getting cold and the small group led by pub cook Rick is looking for warmer shelter. Traveling through the Tube with Rick when the Pulse occurred was his sister, Virginia, and girlfriend, Egbertyne. Navid and his son, Daniel, joined them at the entrance to the Bank tube station, along with Amira, an American scientist working in London. Outside the station, people dropped dead wherever they were at 11 am — on the street, in their vehicles, at their desks. As a week or two passes, those who were close to the surface when the event happen start dying, usually evinced first by headaches, then nosebleeds. One of their party, a teenager named Lo, dies within the first week.
Rick’s small group has taken refuge in an old VW camper van and are having trouble staying warm and fed. During a raid on a Tesco, Rick and Gin encounter members of another group, who threaten them after they demand what little food the siblings have gathered and, without any intent, Gin uses a heretofore unknown psychic power to push them away.
Daniel begins having visions of Rick and Gin held captive in the opposition camp. Egbertyne ventures to her parents’ home in search of guns and finds them, along with a shocking letter to her mother. Daniel is kidnapped, and Navid suddenly goes blind.
Chased by Guilt: Amira and Navid have split from the group to search for Daniel, then reunite with them in an Amazon-style warehouse that stores food, warm clothing and bedding, and bottled water. A woman from the opposition camp, Chloe, shows up, claiming she knows where Daniel is and that she left the other camp because she realized Jonathan, her former boyfriend, was evil, even though her brother, Clive, is still his devoted bodyguard.
Meanwhile, one of the opposition camp’s guards, Lachlan, becomes more suspicious of their leader, Jonathan, as he uses Daniel’s powers to advance his agenda, even though each use depletes Daniel to the point of near-death. He knows that another young man under his care, Will, is in danger of execution for his particular power, freezing.
Alfred, father to Rick and Gin, is camped out in a caravan in a Heathrow car park with Felix, the abandoned fiancé of Amira, who’s deathly ill with some sort of chest infection. Alfred has found and administered antibiotics, but they seem to make Felix more ill. The two men were saved by chance and stick together as a result.
He takes off to find someone to help Felix and runs into Mae, the first to rebel against Jonathan, who runs a camp in Walton-on-Thames, and she promises to head to Heathrow to care for Felix while Alfred searches for his children.
Misplaced Mercy: Rick’s camp spies on Jonathan’s in an effort to rescue Daniel and defeat them for good. Several of them witness a horrible event engineered by Jonathan.
Lachlan is on the run with Daniel and Will. Gin, Chloe, and Navid find Amira trapped in an abandoned house and almost kill her captor. Will turns to Lachlan for comfort after using his power and is reassured that he’s on the right path.
Rick’s powers literally explode, and he resolves to use them against Jonathan, although he knows doing so will most likely kill him, as they drain his strength. Egbertyne makes a puzzling request that angers the group.
Forlorn Redemption: The group travels to Mae’s camp in Walton-on-Thames and are welcomed under her strict rules, which includes handing over their weapons. Chloe ponders how she got to where she is and how it affected others, most particularly her violent brother, Clive, who serves as Jonathan’s most loyal henchman and is now their captive.
Lachlan helps Will find his mother and bury her, and both boys reflect sadly on their broken families. Felix and Amira shakily reunite, not sure their union can survive, although Amira wants it to, unlike before the Pulse. Virginia, away from the group on her own journey, struggles to accept all the losses she’s endured and ponders her attraction to Chloe, who humiliated her while she was a prisoner in Jonathan’s camp, but with whom she’s now inexplicably bonded.
In Egbertyne’s presence, Clive tells Chloe what drew him to Jonathan and why he remained loyal as Jonathan grew crueler, and Chloe recognizes that her beloved older brother is filled with hate and contempt. While out with Amira, they encounter Lachlan and the boys, and Chloe makes a frightening decision. Egbertyne defends Chloe, much to the group’s despair, and Lachlan reveals a crucial fact about Jonathan. His group sets out to attack Mae’s.
All We Have Left: Egbertyne accepts that, once the battle with Jonathan is over, she and Amira will be expelled from Mae’s group, but grieves over her decision and the fact she’ll be separated from Alfred, who disagrees with her actions. Amira, however, urges her to stand strong in her decision and defends her to those who voted against her. Chloe is appalled as Jonathan confides his attack plans and learns he’s planted a spy in Mae’s camp. Lachlan returns with false information to throw Jonathan’s camp off track.
Mae’s camp is riven by fighting and disagreements. Jonathan demands a deadly repayment from Chloe when Clive voices his doubts about her loyalty. Lachlan, Will, and Daniel convince Jonathan that Daniel has envisioned Egby and Amira on their own, and finally, the young boy has a comforting vision about his family. Jonathan’s group attacks Mae’s camp, but Virginia uses her powers to protect her friends as she and Will come face-to-face in a fight that started just after the Pulse. Chloe digs a grave, but the person she intends to bury comes back to life. Clive provides unexpected assistance to his sister, but he asks one last, difficult, favor in return.