cover image Symbiont


Mira Grant. Orbit, $26 (608) ISBN 978-0-316-21899-3

This cerebral and visceral sequel to Parasite pits the sentient tapeworm who has taken on the body and identity of dead Sally Mitchell against the rapacious profit motives of Dr. Steven Banks, founder of SymboGen, the organization that originally genetically modified the tapeworms. He keeps Sally's sister Tansy chained up for experimental purposes and pursues both Sally and his former ally, Dr. Shanti Cale, who now seeks to undo the results of their collaboration. Sally's boyfriend wants marriage despite her zombielike status; adversary tapeworm Dr. Sherman Lewis kidnaps Sally to enlist her in his plot for tapeworms to seize world supremacy from humans. Soon San Francisco is quarantined and society is collapsing nationwide. Cale's profession of love for all her children, regardless of their species, adds a piquancy that elevates this series above the standard zombie genre, as does the tension between love and duty felt by Col. Alfred Mitchell, Sally's father. Grant allows the moral debate to slow the story's movement following the meeting of Banks and Cale, but the richness of the plot sustains the reader's interest in how the characters will negotiate this strange new world. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (Dec.)