Below the Surface is essentially a trilogy in one volume; a single continuous storyline told by three different narrators, who each have a different voice and a different perspective on the events. The first part, narrated by seventeen-year-old Nahanni Redfern concerns the arrival underground of Jack Correll and his team of scientists, and Correll’s eccentric behavior. Nahanni, a budding writer, is also collecting the stories of her tribe, which in a series of flashbacks tell the tale of the war with the Outsiders thirty-nine years ago, and how the tribe was eventually defeated and forced into hiding underground. The second part is narrated by Jack Correll himself, and describes his battles with floods and rebel factions, and internal battles with his depression, sexuality, and inability to commit to a relationship. Finally, Ozias Chase, Correll’s 20-year-old Captain of the Guard, takes over as the narrator of the third part, relaying the events that lead to a final, decisive war with the Outsiders, the ultimate battle, and the climactic conclusion of the story.
Although set in the future, in post-apocalyptic Alaska, the focus is more on the characters and their relationships as they face the threats of floods, illnesses, and a mysterious, lurking would-be assassin, than on futuristic gadgetry. All three of the narrators are young people, navigating their way through romantic relationships – both straight and gay – discovering their abilities, formulating their own moral codes, and finding their “tribe”.