Ghost Earth I: World in Flames is the first book of the series.
The story takes place in the year 2165 in a post-apocalyptic Earth. In 2012, a major catastrophe nearly ended human life & caused the rise of the Dark Race, whose species are known as shadowghosts. The story begins & ends during the middle of the Second Dark War.
The story centers itself around a boy named James Anderson & his friends, Victor Underwood, Eddie Smith, Commander Jackson, Erol & Emily Love. James also has a cousin named Maureen, who is marryed to Luke. Meanwhile, on the other end of the war is the shadowghosts such as Core, Mellion & others who will not be seen or mentioned until later. During the midst of the story, a major twist occurs in which the League of Imperial Cybernetic Hybrids is introduced, where Erol is blown up. We later learn in the next book that he was reanimated as the evil cyborg, Cyber Erol.
James, Victor, Erol & Eddie are sent by Jackson to patrol the Detroit Ruins & protect the mining sites. Bored of the constant lack of excitement, the group sits around while the workers mine. Their day changes from dull when an army of shadowghosts attack the Detroit Ruins. The ensuing battle results in the mines exploding, the ruins breaking & the entire place collapsing in on itself. Everyone makes it out alive before the place crumbles.
Core, the shadowghost leader, is frustrated with his second-in-command, Mellion, as he hasn't proven any way that is effective at finding the Great Lakes Citadel, which it's name & location has been kept secret from the shadowghosts for almost a century. Mellion promises to find it through destructive raids, such as the one that destroyed Detroit, but Core commands him to infiltrate the Academic Military Research Institute in Metropolitan City to find the citadel. He then addresses Mellion to a problem regarding the oil batterys off the shores & orders Mellion to shut off the batterys & destroy the black markets. Last but not least, Core then tells Mellion to launch a robot construction project, hoping it will win the war for them.
Jackson briefs the wounded soldiers about a new plan called Operation Slick Metal. The operation is to use a glider to fly from the citadel to drill platforms out in the Atlantic & Pacific, where six oil batterys await them. The group manage to overrun & relocate the five Atlantic batterys, but are compromised when they reach the Pacific drill as the shadowghosts are on high alert. They fight & in the battle, a fire starts, forcing everyone to flee the drill. However, Erol, who was separated from the troops & chased by shadowghosts, losing them by hiding out, got left behind by accident & is blown up with the drill. He is presumed dead by his fellow comrades.
James, remembering how Jackson promised him a vacation that he could take at anytime, travels to Metropolitan City to get away from the war & to see his cousin, Maureen. During his vacation, him, Maureen & Luke are suddenly attacked by strange robots that appear out of nowhere. James defeats them all & learns of the newly formed League of Imperial Cybernetic Hybrids. James receives a word from Emily, who calls him back to the citadel for help.
James returns to find the citadel in a state of hysteria as shadowghosts & Imperials are busy pounding the citadel with the artillery from the Imperial War Factory, a giant factory that is the home to the creation & housing of the Imperials. By the time James has arrived, the citadel has been damaged so severely that it begins to collapse & everyone frantically evacuates. James uses a warp gate to escape & ends up in the Camden Ruins, rather than the Academic Military Research Institute, where everyone was planning to meet up.