The story is set in the near future. The place was formerly the United States of America, but now it is called the Republic of Gilead. It happens to be a theocratic military dictatorship. The Republic lies within the borders of what was formerly the US.As the book opens, an organized terrorist attack takes place. The Islamic extremist terrorists are blamed for the attack. The president and most of Congress members are killed in that fatal attack. It transpires that the movement has been started by a group that calls itself the "Sons of Jacob."--Provided by publisher.