The time is five hundred years after The Last War. The women have taken power. Simon, reaching his eighteenth birthday, makes his Pilgrimage to the Holy Structure along with other young men from many parts of the planet. He will enter each of seven circles, learning life-changing lessons in each, returning to his Colony very different than he was when he left. He will learn about Earth when the goods of daily life were made from natural materials, before mankind destroyed most of the natural world. In each of the circles Earth's young men offer up a life-prayer, completing their journey with The Seventh Prayer.