Ashes falls into a category of science fiction little exploited and little recognized in France: the post-apocalyptic. After an end of the world that nobody saw coming, the continents were ravaged by a monstrous wave, ashes obscured the atmosphere for a year, engendering a winter of a decade. A century after the end of the world, men still live, between reconstruction and the persistence of the past.
The catastrophe has profoundly changed the world. Most of the coastal towns were simply swept away, while winter and epidemics mowed the largest number. Since then, the world is no longer the same as before. The climate was upset, life gradually took over.
In Europe, where action takes place, the extremes are at the rendezvous, between a rough winter and a hot summer. Powerful states have managed to reconstitute themselves, such as the Restored European Community (on the lands of Northeast France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands ...), Die Federation Europa (Germany), and Other smaller states: the Republics of Brittany, the Alliance of Burgundy, the Federation of the Three Lakes, and so on.
It would be wrong to believe that the social aspect of a post-apocalyptic universe comes down to Mad Max. In Ash, men have had time to rebuild and develop new communities, even though many of them are precarious and delivered to looters. Religion plays an equally primordial role, with the presence of two fiercely opposed and competing apostolic Catholic churches: one centered in Avignon and the other in Ravenna (Italy). Druidism is also represented with a dogma after the disaster, Buddhism with the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, Islam, Judaism and various sects, sometimes dangerous.
In this highly contrasting world, where some regions have succeeded in rehabilitating infrastructures worthy of the 20th century and others have reverted to the middle-ages, the characters can be particularly diverse.