Messenger is the third in a trilogy of fantasy novels beginning with The Giver. Since it is fantasy, there is no specific time or place in which the story occurs. The future (from the first novel's setting) is the time in which the action occurs. The book refers to Village as the place where inhabitants who were ill, crippled, or in some way deficient came to live after being cast out of their previous towns. The problem in the story is that some outside influence seems to be changing the villagers from their usual kindly selves into quarrelsome, greedy individuals. In turn, Forest, an area that separates other towns from Village, becomes an evil, twisted place that seeks to ensnare people as they travel. This occurs after the inhabitants visit something called Trade Mart and barter something unknown but personal for an objective they desire. The problem is solved, but at great cost, by the main character Matty, who uses his unique healing abilities to cure the ills of that fantasy world.