On Guy Fawkes Night in London in 1997, a financially desperate 16-year-old, Evey Hammond, sexually solicits men who are actually members of the state secret police, called "The Finger". Preparing to rape and kill her, the Fingermen are dispatched by V, a cloaked anarchist wearing a mask, who later remotely detonates explosives at the Houses of Parliament before bringing Evey to his contraband-filled underground lair, the "Shadow Gallery". Evey tells V her life story, which reveals her own past as well as England's recent history. During a dispute over Poland in the late 1980s the Soviet Union and the United States, under the presidency of Ted Kennedy, entered a global nuclear war which left continental Europe and Africa uninhabitable. Although Britain itself was not bombed due to the Labour government's decision to remove American nuclear missiles, it faced environmental devastation and famine due to the nuclear winter. After a period of lawlessness in which Evey's mother died, the remaining corporations and fascist groups took over England and form a new totalitarian government, Norsefire. Evey's father, a former socialist, was arrested by the regime.