The barren landscape offers no evidence of any life form - until they stumble upon the ruins of a lost civilization.
Strange fossils of creatures unknown to man lead the team deeper, where they find carved stones dating back millions of years.
And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people.
A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides - or are chosen.
There's only one catch: behind a strange and intricately carved door in a distant wing of the house lives elderly Mrs.
Allardyce, and the Rolfes will be responsible for preparing her meals. Allardyce never seems to emerge from her room, and it soon becomes clear that something weird and terrifying is happening in the house.
He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil.
In his desolate world, which frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.
But while battling The Pusher in 1977 New York, Roland altered ka by saving the life of Jake Chambers, a boy who - in Roland's world - has already died.
Now Roland and Jake exist in different worlds, but they are joined by the same madness.
But it is their discovery of the terrifying city of the Old Ones that leads them to an encounter with an untold menace.
This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.
Roland Deschain and his ka-tet are bearing southeast through the forests of Mid-World, the almost timeless landscape that seems to stretch from the wreckage of civility that defined Roland's youth to the crimson chaos that seems the future's only promise.