Picture the male prison system and the sexual hierarchy within. Now remove the guards, throw in a beautiful virginal girl, and roll the cameras. This isn't the usual doomsday story where survival is defined by food hoards and weaponry skills. It is a dissection of non-consent sexuality and the ugliest human emotion: fear. The fear that destroys a mother when her baby is ripped from her arms. The fear that consumes a twelve-year girl when she sees a man for the first time in her life. The fear that weakens boys as they mature into the kind of men who raised them, never knowing what it feels like to touch and be touched without pain. Part 1, the back story with the heroic virgin, leaves a permanent scar branded with terror, disappointment, and inspiration. It was such an incredibly potent set up for Part 2, the aftermath twenty plus years later. What I found most compelling was the courageous honesty between the scared, and the scary, cast of survivors. There was very little to smile about in this story, and I wouldn't recommend it to the mainstream reader. It represents the worst of mankind, the monster that lies in wait, springing with the right measurement of nature and nurture. Yet, as Krylov brutally showed these monsters cold and merciless, she also showed their tears. And when you taste these tears, you feel their humanity. It was hideous and beautiful. I began this book with a bias since Krylov is one of my favorite authors. I ended it feeling dilated and awe-struck. The downside to reading such an powerful tale is knowing that the books I read its wake will fall short. This story will haunt my waking thoughts and chase me in my slumber for a very long time. I wish I could give it ten stars. I will, without doubt, read it again.