A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.
We owe our good health to a humble parasite - a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system - even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.
But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives . . . and will do anything to get them.
In the year 2021, a car crash leaves 20-year-old Sally Mitchell amnesiac. She owes her life to the apparently benign implant of a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by SymboGen. Six years after the crash, as Sally seeks to recover her identity, outbreaks of sinister "sleepwalking" incidents ignored by the media fuel Grant's mordant satire of the corporate public relations world. SymboGen's widely accepted patented Intestinal Bodyguard tapeworm suppresses illnesses, but Sally's boyfriend, parasitologist Nathan Kim, wonders what the cost is. A running series of comments by Symbogen cofounder Dr. Steven Banks and his renegade former colleague Dr. Shanti Cale provide a parallel to Sally's desperate quest for information, as SymboGen's good intentions become increasingly suspect. Grant extends the zombie theme of her Newsflesh trilogy to incorporate thoughtful reflections on biomedical issues that are both ominously challenging and eerily plausible. Sally is a complex, compassionate character, well suited to this exploration of trust, uncertainty, and the price of progress.