Dan and his family awake one day in a world where everyone is dead but nothing points to a cause. Initial searches for survivors yield nothing and, in panic, the family turns their house into a stronghold. Eventually, they find Laura, a survivor who wins their hearts...and leads Dan to temptation. Laura describes her panicking encounter with strange entities which Dan recognizes in his childhood hallucinations. He forces himself to find and confront them: An older power controls the fate of men.
A few selected will face the ultimate quest: a painful genetic transformation and work toward the rebirth of a new human race, or oblivion and death in isolation.
PA novels are often about cataclysmic events, survivors fending off dangers at every page, zombie attacks, aliens destroying everything for inscrutable reasons, or as a fulfillment of the latest religious prophecies. "Daimones" is nothing of the sort.
The novel puts a few survivors in a world having experienced a planetary culling of the human race but there is no immediate cause to be pointed at for the survivors. The Apocalypse has arrived, but why and how remains unknown in a frustrating and fearful reality for the family around which the story evolves, untill the last third of the plot.
"Daimones" explores moral and emotional issues as well as the mechanics of everyday survival for this family: all evidences point for them to be the only people left alive on Earth. The exploration of human relationships and their importance, of personalities and memories, are at the heart of the tale. Confusion, sadness, and fear start to mix into the main character's mind, Dan Amenta. We are led to feel the disbelief, the anguish, the grief, the frantic search for other survivors through his eyes and the 1st person narration.
Finally, when Dan and his family do find other survivors...they experience the absolute terror of first contact. The ending brings some closure about the catastrophe to this family, but also lays a heavy burden and responsibility on Dan, and opens up the novel to the sequel in the trilogy.
Being a scientist at heart—and by formation—the premises and what happens in the story are very plausible and realistic, if the tale were to be true...