Similar in style to "The Death of Grass" (1956), "A Wrinkle In the Skin" (1965) reads like an after-the-bomb story without the radiation. In this book the collapse of civilization is quite literal.
Massive earthquakes have brought a sudden end to modern society. Towns and cities have been completely destroyed, the twisted landscape strewn with rubble and unburied corpses. Very few made it through the devastation alive. The disaster has left its survivors reduced to the level of scavengers, digging among the ruins for food, wary of strangers, fearful of desperate marauders.
Things are unstable in more ways than one. While earth tremors continue to shake the survivors, recent events have unhinged those who once lived normal lives in a world of law and order. Madness and violence are widespread. And these are only the early days of the aftermath. Nevertheless, a trace of decent behaviour still remains in some people. Against the rising tide of barbarism, they're determined to live and gain some form of security that will enable them to start again.
Among all this horror, Matthew Cotter is trying to find his daughter Jane. As one would expect, it's a grim journey by foot across a ravaged land.
It's tempting to think of "A Wrinkle In the Skin" as a prequel to "The Prince in Waiting Trilogy". (In that story England is medievalised once more due to the destruction of civilization through earthquakes.) We can guess that life will be more primitive and harsh after "A Wrinkle In the Skin" finishes. Descendents of the survivors will inherit legends of former glory; the so-called "lost civilization" with its mysteries and wonders. Only time will tell whether future generations will rediscover all that was destroyed.