As a consequence of a near-miss meteor, the axis of he earth was re-oriented ever so slightly. Yet, this planetary shift brought about a sudden and dramatic change in the earth's climate. A New Ice Age came upon the Earth, revolutionizing human society.
Where once there were fields of golden barley, now there are fields of pale blue ice, dusted with the powdery snow that keeps blowing in from the endless North. I used to work this land, my plow cutting into the ancient and providential earth, folding over the remains of last year's harvest in order to bring the black soil into the sunshine once more. But no more. Now we hunt the snow bears that prowl this frozen world and, and at night, listen for the howls of the lean and hungry wolves as they come down from the hills.
It was in the midst of the barley harvest, three years ago, when we first saw the diamonds begin appearing in the skies. Little did we know that those first shards of stardust were but the beginning of the Great Change, when all of human history would become what came before and what came after the coming of the long winter.
I was named Cornell by my mother, a woman always wanting to rise above her birth. But life named me Buck, Buck Walters, once a farmer and a rancher, but now a hunter and a survivor. And some say, I may turn out to be the last cowboy.