Ten years after Cape Town was destroyed in the War with the living dead, zombies ramble free in Cape Town's suburbs (known as the Deadlands), and the remaining living are either in fenced in on farms or in urban shantytowns.

The living are watched over by the mysteriously robed Guardians, a race of humanoid figures who appeared at the end of the War and who keep the living dead at bay, albeit for a steep price. Every year the Guardians stage a human Lottery and select five aspiring teenagers to be whisked out of the enclave for a secret purpose. To be one of the chosen five is a highly sought after and prestigious accolade.

No one (yet) knows why it is that the Guardians prize teenage bodies so highly, how they control the zombies or what they look like under the robes that cover their bodies...