On July 17, 2002, all living mammals with a Y chromosome—including embryos and sperm—simultaneously die, with the exception of a young amateur escape artist named Yorick Brown and his Capuchin monkey, Ampersand. Many women die from disasters caused by the men’s deaths, such as plane crashes. Society is plunged into chaos as infrastructures collapse, and the surviving women everywhere try to cope with the loss of the men, and the belief that, barring a rapid, major scientific breakthrough or other extraordinary happening, humanity is doomed to extinction.
Yorick’s mother, a member of the U.S. Congress, commissions Agent 355 of the Culper Ring to protect Yorick. The two travel to meet geneticist and cloning expert Dr. Allison Mann, who works to discover why Yorick survived and find a way to save humankind. Due to damage at Mann’s laboratory in Boston, the trio first travel across the country to Mann’s other lab in San Francisco, then to Australia and Japan.
During the trip, the group is chased by multiple parties who know of Yorick’s existence and want to capture or kill him for their own purposes, including an Israeli army commando named Alter, the militant Daughters of the Amazon, and a ninja. They also meet friendly women such as Yorick’s sister Hero (who is initially brainwashed to kill her brother), a Russian soldier named Natalya, an astronaut named Ciba, a former flight attendant named Beth who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand with Yorick, and Rose, an Australian sailor.
In China, the group learns Mann’s father, Dr. Matsumori, is also still alive and has created many clones of her. He also reveals that Ampersand had been one of his lab animals, and that he only ended up in Yorick’s care by accident. When Mann learns that Matsumori plans to murder Yorick before committing suicide, she kills him. Armed with the samples and information she needs, Mann stays in China to work on cloning.
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