RAINWALKERS is a story set in the not-so-distant future in a crumbling version of John Steinbeck's Salinas Valley, after the breakup of the United States. A once rich and prosperous agricultural land is now a war-torn nation-state known only as The Valley. To combat chronic droughts, scientists seeded clouds with genetically engineered bacteria that created regular rains but unintentionally made the rains lethal to humans. Anyone caught in the rain dies within seconds, yet there are rumors of people who survive... known as rainwalkers.
In a land of forced labor camps and waning oil fields, poverty-stricken agricultural communities support the metropolis of Salinas City and the authoritarian Valley Administration in their unending war against neighboring nations. In desperation, the Valley Administration intensifies their search for rainwalkers, who are believed to be powerful weapons in the border wars, by forcing children housed at Valley schools into the rain to be screened for resistance.
War hero Willie Taft lives a quiet agrarian life until the Administration abducts him and his wife, separating them from their daughter. Although his wife is killed during their escape, Willie continues his journey to rescue their daughter. He faces mortal challenges from the Administration military force, the sociopath bounty hunter on his trail, and the ever-present toxic rain. Time is running out as he fights his way through the Valley back to his daughter's school before she is forcefully screened with other children in the deadly rain.
DR. MATT RITTER, who has an infectious love of trees and all things botanical, is a biology professor at California Polytechnic State University and the author of several nonfiction and fiction books.