Orbit: Hachette. (Parasitology, Vol. 1). Oct. 2013. 512p. ISBN 9780316218955. $20. SF
OrangeReviewStarAs Sally Mitchell's doctors attempt to convince her family to take her off life support following a horrific car accident, Sally opens her eyes and sits up. Her miraculous resurrection is attributed to her Intestinal Bodyguard, a bioengineered tapeworm designed to keep humans free of disease. Six years later, Sal can only remember her life after the accident but trusts completely that her tapeworm kept her alive. However, as ordinary people start showing signs of a brain-altering infection, Sal is drawn deep into the history of the world's first designer parasite. Perhaps SymboGen isn't as altruistic as it wishes to appear. Perhaps the tapeworms are not so benevolent. Perhaps the tapeworms are ready to be in control.
VERDICT Horrifying, riveting, and a bit too plausible, this work is a tour de force. Grant ("Newsflesh" trilogy), a pseudonym of Seanan McGuire ("October Daye" series), has penned a layered sf thriller reminiscent of those by Michael Crichton, with perfect pacing, touches of humor, and just enough medical jargon to make one believe. After finishing this first volume in an anticipated trilogy, readers will have a hard time waiting for the next installment. [See Prepub Alert, 4/15/13.]
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