In this post-apocalyptic adventure, David Morr runs away from an unhappy home to join a small traveling circus. Here he meets a quirky assortment of characters--the beautiful and mischievous Annabelle, the clever and manipulative Telly, the brutish Karl, the brooding and troubled Gooty, and the enigmatic and possibly psychotic Cakey. Each one of them will test and challenge David, as he struggles to come out of his shell and embrace his new life on the stage.
But the world is full of sickness, and life on the road is fraught with peril. A plague sweeps across the land, turning ordinary people into mindless monsters, transforming friendly audiences into rampaging hordes. Soon, the performers find themselves fighting for their lives against crazed mobs. All the while, the Empire of Tockland is on the rise, the cruel tyrant, Joseph Mattock, conquering one city after another, and the black and silver flag will soon fly over every nation.
Unwittingly, David and his fellow performers find themselves travelling deeper and deeper into the very heart of darkness, where plague and madness and tyranny collide in a brutal struggle for survival.