Centuries after humanity destroyed the environment, a small society of genetically modified telepaths has emerged from their underground shelter and begun readapting to life on the surface. Included in their efforts are searches for other possible survivors, but none of the explorers report any. Three decades later, the Elite, the leader of this community, establishes psychic contact with children in a remote and primitive village. No one in their community realizes Tia and Rabbit are telepathic, but they are physically different as well and thus become scapegoats. When the children accidentally kill a man who is harming Tia, they must flee into the wilderness and try to find their way to the more advanced community at Morrow.
While not on par with Hoover's later, similarly themed, This Time of Darkness, this is an impressive and imaginative first novel. I particularly liked her parallel development of differing societies, and especially that while she definitely presents the more high-tech colony at Morrow as preferable to the abusive, sexist, might-makes-right system that the children escape from, it is not overly idealized. She sketches in a background that includes an exploitative capitalist founder and telepathic leaders who had not always been above using their powers to bend other inhabitants to their wills. This would have been a better book if it had been a little longer, allowing for more exploration of these themes.