|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
- "Group Two has to travel to the capitol. Get to the governor somehow. Convince him to work with us. [...] If anybody can handle a politician, it's Marco. And Tobias can get to the capitol without getting lost. We also need to make sure the governor isn't a Controller, and Ax is the most qualified to judge. So that's the second group. Marco, Ax, and Tobias. I can trust them. I'll be with Group One. Rachel. Cassie. Toby and some of her people. James's group, too. We'll try to stir up some major chaos before midnight. Marco, you need to reach the governor some time tomorrow. Doesn't matter exactly when, just get there. I know this sounds melodramatic, but we can't fight this war alone anymore. We need the authorities on our side."
- ―Jake to the other Animorphs, Eva and Toby
The Absolute, published in February 2001 and written by Lisa Harkrader based on an outline by K.A. Applegate, is the fifty-first book in the Animorphs series. It is the fifteenth book narrated by Marco and the tenth and final book with Marco as the sole narrator.
The Yeerks have taken over units of the National Guard with plans to infest all of its officers and soldiers. The plan seems to be to step things up—use the Guard to prepare for an all-out war on Earth. The Animorphs couldn't be less prepared. They're living with the free Hork-Bajir colony, Jake is depressed, and worst of all, the morphing cube is in the hands of the enemy.
Marco and the others know they need to take serious action to stop the Yeerk infiltration of the Guard. They decide to approach the governor—but they don't know if she's a controller or not. If she is, they're walking right into enemy hands. If she's not, the Animorphs are finally going public with their secret. And no one knows which situation is worse...
The books opens with Marco and Tobias in bird form surveying a freight train transporting tanks into the city. They are spotted and attacked by Controllers in bird of prey morph, revealing that the Yeerks now have the ability to morph after obtaining the Escafil Device in the previous book. Marco and Tobias escape by stealing a tank, which they use to demolish Chapman's house before abandoning.
Back in the Hork-Bajir valley, the Animorphs speculate that the Yeerks are planning to infest the state's National Guard en masse. A personal issue is also presented in the form of Jake's depression, which affects the morale of the group.
Jake decides to send Marco, Tobias and Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill to the state capitol to warn the governor of the Yeerk invasion, while he, Cassie, Rachel and the Auxiliary Animorphs attempt to slow the Yeerks down with the usual assault tactics. Marco's team infiltrates The Gardens to acquire mallard ducks for the long distance flight to the capitol. Here they are again attacked by Controllers with the morphing ability, but manage to escape.
They arrive at the capitol and locate the governor while in cockroach morph, eventually demorphing and revealing themselves to her, her husband and her two bodyguards. Unfortunately, her husband and one of her bodyguards are Controllers, and the other Controllers in the building are alerted. Marco, Tobias, and Ax grab the governor and race through the streets of the capitol while being pursued by the Yeerks. After destroying a helicopter and a yacht, they lose their pursuers and return to the Governor's mansion to explain the situation to her.
The governor is accepting of the danger, and calls in a group of National Guardsmen who have been doing training missions in the desert for the last few weeks, and can therefore be assumed to be uninfested. Unfortunately an infested company arrives first with the intention of kidnapping the governor. Marco deceives them by morphing the governor, letting himself be captured by the Yeerks, and being rescued by Tobias and Ax, keeping the real governor safe.
Marco, Tobias and Ax return to the Hork-Bajir valley in time to see the governor on the news announcing a state of emergency and revealing the existence of the Yeerks and the invasion to the nation, and to the world at large.
- Toby Hamee
- Governor (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Chee (Mentioned Only)
- Auxiliary Animorphs (Mentioned Only)
- James (Mentioned Only)
- Visser One
- Morph-capable Controllers
- Various human-Controllers
- Frank (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Edriss 562 (Mentioned Only)
- Hedrick Chapman (Mentioned Only)
- Collins (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Lieutenant Colonel Jacob P. Larsen (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Deputy Director Major MacDonald (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Champ (Final Appearance)
- Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul (Mentioned Only)
- Peter (Mentioned Only)
- Naomi (Mentioned Only)
- Sara (Mentioned Only)
- Jordan (Mentioned Only)
- Loren (Mentioned Only)
- Walter (Mentioned Only)
- Michelle (Mentioned Only)
- Tom (Mentioned Only)
- Steve (Mentioned Only)
- Jean (Mentioned Only)
- Big Jim (Mentioned Only)
- Fluffer McKitty (Mentioned Only)
- Melissa Chapman (Mentioned Only)
- Mrs. Chapman (Mentioned Only)
- Hork-Bajir Valley
- Ax's Scoop (Final Appearance)
- M1 Abrams battle tank (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- The Gardens
- M1 Abrams battle tank (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Dracon beams
- Escafil Device (Mentioned Only)
- Blade ship (Mentioned Only)
- Bug fighter (Mentioned Only)
- The Yeerks are now able to morph, with Marco, Tobias and Ax attacked by Controllers using red-tailed hawk, peregrine falcon, golden eagle, leopard and cougar morphs.
- Marco and Tobias steal a military tank, driving it across hills and on the highway before finally driving it into Chapman's home, demolishing it.
- The Animorphs notice that National Guard troops from various states are all conglomerating in their hometown. Strongly suspecting that Visser One is planning to mass infest the troops, Jake decides that "Group One", consisting of himself, Rachel, Cassie, Toby and her free Hork-Bajir and James' group, would attack various National Guard bases in their city while "Group Two", consisting of Marco, Tobias and Ax, would fly to the state capitol and request aid from the state governor, who possesses the authority to half the National Guard's movements, hindering Visser One's plan and providing the Animorphs with much-needed authoritative resources.
- Ax has now relocated his scoop to the new Hork-Bajir valley, choosing to live with the other Animorphs.
- Marco, Tobias and Ax encounter the governor and reveal their existence to her, although matters are complicated when her husband and most of her security team, as well as hotel staff, turn out to be Controllers. Marco, Ax and Tobias manage to flee, taking the governor with them, and are filmed doing so, Ax being in his Andalite form and Tobias in Hork-Bajir morph, with the footage later broadcast on the news.
- Marco uses a Dracon beam to destroy a helicopter piloted by a human-Controller, marking the first time an Animorph has explicitly and deliberately murdered another human being. Marco, Ax and Tobias also cause the death of three human-Controllers in morph, with Marco using a fake-out maneuver to cause a Controller in red-tailed hawk morph to strike a steel pipe and break their neck, and Tobias later employing a similar method to cause a human-Controller in golden eagle morph to slam into an accelerating rollercoaster cart. Shortly after, Ax tangles with a human-Controller in cougar morph, causing it to fall into The Gardens' Siberian tiger exhibit.
- Marco, Tobias and Ax convince the governor of the Yeerk threat and request that she call all National Guard troops and order them to cease operations. This causes a televised battle between both the uninfested and the infested National Guard factions, and marks the first time that a United States military force aids the Animorphs in combat.
- The governor reveals the existence of the Yeerks and the current invasion of Earth on the news, alerting the nation and the world.
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Tobias||Mallard Drake||Human (himself), Mallard Drake, Cockroach, Hork-Bajir (Ket Halpak)|
|Marco||Mallard Drake, Human (State Governor)||Osprey, Silverback Gorilla (Big Jim), Mallard Drake, Cockroach, Bottlenose Dolphin, Human (State Governor)|
|Ax||Mallard Drake||Mallard Drake, Cockroach, Shark*, Hork-Bajir (Jara Hamee)|
|Visser One||Human (National Guard C.O.)||Human (National Guard C.O.)|
|Morph-capable-Controllers||--||Red-Tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles, Leopard, Cougar|
- Ax morphs into a shark, but it is never stated whether he used his tiger shark or hammerhead shark morph.
- The cover quote is, "The countdown has begun...."
- The inside cover quote is, "They keep going, and going, and going...." This is a reference to the famous Energizer Bunny commercial.
- This book is the first of the countdown books, with the front cover possessing the text "It's countdown time. Only 3 more books until the end..."
- Starting with this book, the back summary of "We can't tell you who we are, or where we live.." etc was changed to:
- "Here's the deal these days: They know exactly who we are. They know exactly where we live. We've got a few secrets left, and we're gonna use them. But just know that the end is coming. And we don't know how much longer we can do this. How much longer we can fight.
- What about you? Where will you be where it ends? Think about it. Think hard. Because the countdown has already begun...."
- This marks the twenty-second time that an Animorph acquires a human morph, not counting Ax's acquisition of a random human in the alternate timeline presented in Back to Before. This also marks the second time that an Animorph acquires a human morph of the opposite sex.
- This is the fifth appearance of the Marco-Ax-Tobias sub-team, following The Escape, The Reunion, The Other and The Diversion.
- This is the eighth instance where an Animorph is on a mission outside of their hometown.
- Marco mentions Jake being swatted on a plane while in fly morph (The Warning) as well as referring to their kidnapping of the governor as the second one he has committed, the first kidnapping being that of Chapman in The Conspiracy.
- ANIBASE: The author of this book was having quite a bit of trouble doing research on tanks. Phone calls to the army turned up a lot of suspicion, but not a lot of information. Help finally came in the form of a man named Art Alphin, a retired Army tank commander and husband of author Elaine Marie Alphin, who won the Edgar award for her book Counterfeit Son. Art provided the author with all the tank info that she needed and even read over the chapters to make sure that the details were spot on. She was so grateful that Art was given a "special thanks" dedication in the front of the book!
- Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul is referred to as a "War-Prince" despite the fact that the rank he attained at the time of his death was that of "Prince".
- On p40, Marco says that he has known Jake since the second grade; however, in The Message, it is revealed that they have been friends since they wore diapers.
- Marco's line is written in thought-speak on p54, despite the fact that he is not in morph.
- In The Capture, the then-thirteen year old Animorphs knew enough about their governor to know his gender, his potential presidential candidacy and his eventual off-the-books medical operation. However, in this book, the seasoned, intelligence-gathering young adult Animorphs are unaware of what their governor looks like, let alone the name or gender.
- While discussing potential morphs to sneak into the governor's mansion, Marco suggests they morph rats; however, neither he, nor Ax or Tobias, possess a rat morph of any kind. Marco also suggests using a wolf spider morph, with Tobias responding that he does not wish to end up stepped on as a spider; only Ax, Marco and Cassie possess a wolf spider morph.
- The governor notifies Marco that she has a safe space for her uninfested troops to lay low without the Yeerks knowledge, but then immediately proceeds to convert her garden as their new headquarters; the Yeerks are aware of her mansion's location, and are already en route to the mansion at the time.
- On p142, Marco, who is morphed as the state governor, struggles to communicate with Ax and Tobias as he has a dirty satchel stuffed in his mouth, despite the fact that he is able to use thought-speak since he is in a morph.