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Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is a prolific, long-time author of various horror, fantasy, and sci-fi novels and is best known for her Saint-Germain series. False Dawn is one of her many stand-alone science-fiction novels.
Set near the beginning of a post-apocalyptic 21st century in northern California, the novel opens immediately onto our heroine named Thea, who is running from a band of vagrant men known as "Pirates" - a league of highly violent and dangerous men on a mission to kill all remaining mutants in the region. Thea - a mutant woman in her 20s - is intent on traveling by foot eastward to a place known as Gold Lake, a place not unlike Eden and rumored to provide safe refuge to all mutants from the Pirates.