The Madwoman of Chaillot has a new avatar: she is the Madwoman of South Beach, and she patrols her territory with the same energetic and determined passion as her predecessor.
Iris Cornelia Starkaugen is a homeless woman who wanders the streets of South Beach, saying nothing to passersby but handing out bits of poetry written on little pieces of paper. These are important messages that they should do well to heed, for they portend their future and, more specifically, describe the moment of their death. For this reason, she is known as the Madwoman; we know her as the new Cassandra who was condemned to tell the future but was never believed.
Some of her poetic auguries fall into the hands of a publisher who wants to make a book out of them. He thinks that her prevailing message is important for everyone to know, that the rising seas precipitated by the warming of the planet are coming faster than anybody suspected. Soon, all of Miami Beach, along with most of the eastern seabord, from Patagonia to Nova Scotia, will be underwater. It is the Earth trying to shake off her worst parasite—Man—by sending tremors, storms and inundations in the attempt to dislodge him and wipe the Earth clean.
Iris, unheeding of her own welfare, grappling with people who misunderstand her and attack her, hindered by the frailty of her own body, and ultimately, facing the coming of the tidal waves, perseveres in her attempt to save as many souls as she can. Selfless and empathic, she loves people enough to fight for their survival.