The novel tells the story of a future world affected by an epidemic. The first part of the novel begins with a story about the youth of Lionel Verney, about his friendship with the radiant prince Adrian, the son of the abdicated king of England, about his love for the sister of Adrian Idris. Verney has a sister to Loss, with whom the proud Lord Raymond is in love. For the sake of marrying her, he refuses the hands of Idris and, for a while, from the post of Lord Protector of England. Idris becomes the wife of Verneus.