Ghost Earth III: City of Refuge is the third book in the series.
The majority of the story takes place in the metropolis, New York II. At times, it travels through time & space to the age of the ancient Mayans to a post-apocalyptic wasteland that will was once the city the story takes place in.
Same characters as the previous story: James Anderson, Victor Underwood, Emily Love & Eddie Smith. The main enemys in this story are Draco, Grievous & Mellion, the second-in-command of the shadowghost leader, Core. Neither Core nor Cyber Erol, leader of the Imperials, are seen, but are mentioned throughout the story. Another character introduced is Axia, a shadowmistress. Mellion & Axia possess both Luke & Maureen respectively, but this is not revealed until the climax of the story when Eddie Smith is killed. We also learn about Draco's backstory. In the middle of the story, we meet another historian, Horace Jackson & his student, Thomas Sherman, the boy who accidentally caused the Second Dark War.
The Alliance for the Survival of Humanity relocates to New York II after losing the Battle for Metropolitan City, which is subsequently destroyed via atom bomb by Cyber Erol. James Anderson is responsible for helping the troops get to the city. They make it there & arm the city. Because New York II is on the island of Manhattan, the city is protected from shadowghosts & Imperials by two rivers & a large bay that is armed with security drones & naval mines.
Meanwhile, Core & Cyber Erol secretly discuss in private the fate of the Alliance. Core scolds Cyber Erol for failing to destroy the rest of the Alliance & the two discuss decapitating the top level of it. Because Commander Jackson was originally the top level, he was killed in the last battle in the Metropolitan Cathedral. However, before the final attacks were made, Eddie Smith was promoted to take Jackson's place. Core & Erol both agree that Smith must be killed. Erol assigns Draco to lead a large scale attack on New York II that will have Draco kill Smith. Draco, who was once an Alliance member & student to Smith, seems reluctant to kill his old teacher, which Erol is aware of & after the demotion in Metropolitan, Erol wants Draco to prove himself by killing Eddie Smith. For the remainder of the book, the shadowghosts & Imperials plot their invasion. During this, Mellion & Axia attack Anderson Manor & possess Maureen & Luke, knowing that their possessions would hurt James.
During the time in New York II, James meets up with Eddie & stumbles across his historical records. Remembering a long story about the recorded history of the New Age that Smith had been telling before being interrupted by his promotion, James asks Eddie if he could finish it. Smith assigns James to first obtain tapes about a boy named Thomas Sherman, who held a discussion with the historian Horace Jackson. Jackson refuses to hand over the tapes of the conversation to neither James nor Smith because he feels ashamed about it. Soon afterwards, he gives up & surrenders the tapes to James. Watching the footage, they learn about Sherman's conversation about shadowghosts with Jackson & afterwards, Smith & James discuss what they'd seen. Smith reveals that the start of the Second Dark War, which James had inquired about before, was caused by Sherman. Thomas Sherman, who was a mountaineer interested in Old Age artifacts & was known for being accident-prone, led an expedition onto Mount Crystal & during that expedition, he accidentally disturbed the site where the shadowghosts were being held, imprisoned in suspended animation. Sherman, who was possessed by Core, held that discussion with Jackson about a week following the incident. Due to his consistent fighting with Core, Sherman went insane & committed suicide, hoping it would destroy Core in the process.
Smith sends James to the Trenton Ruins to find a special artifact. James uncovers the artifact known as the Time Map. Smith examines it & they take a trip to the Great Lakes Citadel, which is now a ruined tower from the attack. After returning from the citadel, Smith tests the Time Map & they travel back to the year 950 A.D., in the Old Age at the time of the Mayans. They find the Mayan Oracle & overhear a prophecy made about the 2012 Catastrophe & the Dark Wars. After returning to 2165, Smith takes a small trip about 35 years into the future to see the world after the conclusion of the war. Surprised at what he'd seen, he returns to the present & brings James back to the future with him. The two explore the ruins of New York II, which has been turned in a wasteland with cannibals as the last survivors of humanity due to a massive catastrophe unseen since 2012. Eddie Smith assumes that it might've been a decision in the Alliance made omnicidal or it was the shadowghosts. We learn that it was actually Cyber Erol's doing in the 2190s after he opened the Radiation Silo with a giant machine called the Cyberbot. The Silo's opening caused a catastrophe that mutated life, but didn't kill off the humans. Agitated that they hadn't been destroyed, Erol then created a powerful atom bomb that was to give off intense gamma radiation that would kill all life. Life survived even after the explosion of the bomb.
Back in New York II in 2165, Smith & James discovered the Triad, three legendary artifacts said to be the key to unlocking the secret to destroying Core. They travel to Mount Crystal & after braving a test of endurance, they obtain the Light Amulet. They head back to Eddie's labs, only to find New York II under attack by the shadowghosts, led by Axia-Maureen & Mellion-Luke & the Imperials, led by Draco & Grievous. James hides as Draco ambushes Smith. Draco, who is afraid to kill his old teacher, ends up conversing with Smith, who manipulates him into telling him about the Cyberbot plans. Mellion-Luke & Axia-Maureen arrive soon afterwards & coaxed by Axia-Maureen, Draco kills Eddie. James, furious that Draco killed his friend & Axia & Mellion have possessed his own family, chases after the assassins. At the bridge the Imperials have constructed, James meets up with Victor, who takes on Grievous & Mellion-Luke while James confronts Draco & Axia-Maureen. In the midst of their fight, James is knocked out as they overpower him & Victor. The assassins get away & the Imperials & shadowghosts leave the city. James, angry that his life is falling apart, leaves New York II & goes into hiding with Victor & Emily to find the Triad artifacts & reverse the transformation of his family. At the same time, the Alliance promotes a new leader & creates the New York II Shield to protect the city from another attack.