The story begins with the capping of Jack, one of Will Parker's friends. Will's community looks to be living in the 1800s as there are no machines or electrical devices, although Tripods are commonplace. In preparing for the capping of Jack, Will and Henry deliver food to vagrants which are people whose capping didn't go well. Living among them is Ozymandias who reveals to Will the secret of the White Mountains where men live free. Jack is capped, and returns to the village as a controlled mind. Will and Henry start their voyage to the White Mountains.