Grendel and his charge, the young Jupiter Assante, continue to make their way across the barren and dangerous wasteland that is America. En route, they're beset by zombies, gang warriors, and killing machines -- and if they survive these, can even the devil himself make it through New York City alive? Meanwhile, Laurel Kennedy has problems of her own as she unearths an insidious plot known only as Project Athena, fostered by her now-dead husband, the former Grendel-Khan.
Grendel and his young traveling companion travel through Mississippi on the way to their destination and encounter a redneck biker gang. Grendel is forced to deal with them before proceeding. They pause at a toll stop before New York City where a gang called the guardians of pain prohibit entrance into the city. They require Grendel to show them his pain before entrance would be permitted. Grendel hurls himself off of the bridge, bouncing like a rag-doll off of the rocky cliffs before plunging into the river below. They find the display of pain acceptable and permit the two to go forward into the city.
Meanwhile Laurel Kennedy continues to track their progress, having already dispatched nine more squadrons of troops to aid in the Grendel's capture. Her daughter Crystal is locked down for the duration with her young guard Susan.
While traveling through the toxic pit of New York City, Grendel encounters mutant zombies as well as extermination robots before being able to exit. He believes their journey through New York will throw anyone off of their trail.