"This is the way the world ends: Not with a bang but a whimper" (T S Eliot)
In Northern Siberia, Makepeace Hatfield is the last survivor of a colony of American Quakers who've moved to Siberia, with the Russian government's blessing, to establish the sort of community that English Quakers came to America to create.
We're never told exactly what has caused the total collapse of civilization, but we do know that global warming is involved - the growing season in the Arctic is increasing - and that there have been wars, but it doesn't seem to have been a global war. In any case, the Quaker settlements are destroyed not by war or disease but simply the pressure of migrating refugees.
Having lost everything, Makepeace is on the verge of suicide when a plane flies overhead. Thinking this is a sign that civilization still exists somewhere, Makepeace sets off to find it, encountering murder, hatred and slavery along the way.
There is no redemption here, not even a sign of any thriving survivor communities, and only the suggestion that the world will eventually peter out with a whimper, and yet the tone remains (vaguely) hopeful.