|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
- "I looked around. Trees, everywhere. A panting horse standing nearby. I saw all this, but in a distant way, as if I were watching it all on TV. My eyes moved left, right. They moved all on their own. Like someone else was focusing them. Cassie. I tried to say her name. Cassie. But no sound came from my mouth. [...] A Yeerk! A Yeerk in my own head. I was a Controller."
It was really bad when Jake found out his older brother was one of them. It was even worse when Tobias stayed in his morph too long. But nothing compares to the horror the Animorphs are about to face. Nothing.
Jake, Rachel, Tobias, Cassie and Marco have a feeling they know where the Yeerks' new base is located. And they've even figured out how to get in -- how many people notice a few flies on the wall?
But they never figured they might get caught. Or that Jake could fall into the Yeerk pool. That Jake could become a human controller. A Yeerk.
The Animorphs morph cockroaches in order to infiltrate a meeting of The Sharing. They discover that the Yeerks have infested an entire hospital staff and are using them to turn patients into Controllers. Not only that, but next week their state's governor – who is a Presidential candidate – will be checking in for surgery.
The Animorphs morph houseflies to infiltrate the hospital, and discover a Jacuzzi that has been converted into a miniature Yeerk Pool. Jake demorphs to human and turns the Jacuzzi on to kill the Yeerks, but the Animorphs are discovered by the Controllers. In the subsequent fight Jake is hit by a bullet ricochet and his head falls in the pool. He is infested by a Yeerk named Temrash 114 who seeks to escape death.
The Animorphs escape from the hospital into the woods, and Jake panics as he realizes that none of his friends have noticed anything different about him. Fortunately, Ax notices something amiss in Temrash's initial reaction to him and accuses Jake of being a Controller. Temrash loses his cool and insults Ax, calling him "Andalite filth" and the others realize he is indeed a Controller.
The others decide to hold him for three days until Temrash dies of Kandrona starvation. In the meantime, Ax morphs Jake and takes his place at home and school. The others tie Jake to a chair in an abandoned shack out in the forest, but Temrash still has access to all of Jake's morphs. He morphs to tiger in the night and escapes. He becomes lost in the forest and morphs to peregrine falcon and tries to fly away, but Cassie stops him as a great horned owl.
Temrash begins to taunt Jake, revealing that he was once the Yeerk controlling Jake's brother Tom. Jake tells him that he will never give up.
The next morning Temrash again tries to escape, this time as an ant, but is forced back by an enemy ant colony. Temrash begins to die of Kandrona starvation. As he does, Jake witnesses his pain, and in the Fugue (the final hours of a Yeerk's death from Kandrona Starvation) catches his first terrifying glimpse a "bloodred eye".
Jake returns to his family to find that he has apparently been acting strangely lately, because Ax is not used to being in human morph. A few days later he morphs partway to wolf (to disguise his voice) and telephones Tom to give him a message of hope.
- Temrash 114 (Death)
- Visser Three
- Several unnamed Yeerks (Death)
- Various Hork-Bajir, Taxxon and human-Controllers
- Visser One (Mentioned Only)
- Tom's Yeerk (First Appearance)
- Gedds (Flashback Only)
- Mak and Ssstram (First Appearance) (Mentioned Only)
- Crayak (First Appearance) (Unnamed)
- Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul (Mentioned Only)
- Eva (Mentioned Only)
- Naomi (Mentioned Only)
- Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic
- Abandoned Construction Site (Mentioned Only)
- Yeerk pool (Mentioned Only)
- Yeerk homeworld (Mentioned Only)
- Jake discovers that Tom has become a high-ranking Controller in The Sharing's ranks, just below Chapman, and that he is in charge of a massive plan by the Yeerks to create involuntary hosts using patients at a newly built hospital. During a reconnaissance mission, which Visser Three is in attendance using a human morph, they learn that their state governor is having a clandestine operation performed at the Yeerk hospital, and that the governor is in the running to become the next U.S. President. The Animorphs proceed to morph into flies to sneak into the hospital, where Jake discovers a Jacuzzi full of Yeerks. He sets the heat and temperature all the way up, boiling the Yeerks alive. However, a few Controllers walk into the room and notice Ax, in his Andalite form. During the ensuing fight, one of the Controllers' ricocheting bullets strikes Jake in the side of his head, and Jake falls face-first into the boiling Jacuzzi.
- Jake is infested by a Yeerk named Temrash 114 and becomes a Controller.
- Ax surprises the infested Jake, causing Temrash to momentarily display a face filled with disgust towards Ax. Seeing the expression, Ax declares that Jake is a human-Controller. Temrash attempts to persuade the others that he is not infested. Cassie remarks that in order to be sure, they must keep Jake tied up for three days, since a Yeerk cannot survive for longer than three days without Kandrona Rays. Additionally, she suggests that Ax should morph into Jake for three days to prevent his parents or the school from noticing his absence. As Ax acquires Jake, "Jake" states "Get your hands off me, Andalite filth!", thereby exposing his true infested nature to the Yeerks.
- Temrash reveals to Jake that he was the Yeerk who had been controlling Tom, and that Tom is now infested by another Yeerk of a lower rank. Temrash also shares his memories of the Yeerk homeworld and the memories of his first three hosts (a Gedd, a Hork-Bajir and Tom). Jake discovers that Tom became a Controller because a girl he liked was a full member of the Sharing. After crashing a membership meeting when he thought she was seeing someone else, he spotted Visser Three in his Andalite form, and was then subsequently apprehended and dragged down to the Yeerk Pool. Additionally, over time Tom stopped resisting, offering to voluntarily relinquish resistance if Jake was spared, although Temrash refused to accept such a deal, as he was strong enough to overpower any resistance Tom offered.
- After three days, Temrash enters a state known as "The Fugue" and dies. In the process, Jake catches his first glimpse of a blood-red eye watching him.
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Jake||Cockroach, Housefly||Cockroach, Housefly, Wolf (partially)|
|Temrash 114||--||Siberian Tiger, Wolf, Black Garden Ant, Peregrine Falcon|
|Rachel||Cockroach, Housefly, Great Horned Owl||Cockroach, Housefly, Wolf, African Elephant, Great Horned Owl|
|Cassie||Cockroach, Housefly, Great Horned Owl, Flea||Cockroach, Housefly, Wolf, Horse, Great Horned Owl, Flea|
|Marco||Cockroach, Housefly||Cockroach, Housefly, Silverback Gorilla (Big Jim), Wolf|
|Ax||Cockroach, Housefly, Human (Jake)||Cockroach, Housefly, Human (Jake)|
To be added
- The front cover quote is "Now he is one of them…"
- The inside front cover quote is, "Superfly?" which is another reference to Superman.
- This is the first time in the series where an Animorph is infested by a Yeerk and becomes a Controller.
- This marks the first time that an Animorph is morphed by a member of their team, in this instance Ax acquiring and morphing into Jake.
- If one counts Ax as an Animorph and his acquiring of the human members' DNA in The Message as separate acquisitions, this marks the fifth time that an Animorph has acquired a human, as well as the fifth time that one of them has acquired a member of their team. It is also the second time Jake has been acquired, and the first time that one of the Animorphs morphs into another member of their team.
- The machine-monster with the big red eye that Jake described he saw is later revealed as Crayak, the opponent of the Ellimist.
- Visser Three reveals that the expectations for numbers of new Controllers are 200 per month, meaning they would infest 2,400 people per year.
- Cassie berates Jake for morphing alone with no Animorph present, even though she did the same thing two books prior, when she morphed a squirrel in order to lure and observe a fox who was feasting on her patients. However, it's possible this is why she was against it, having experienced the danger firsthand.
- When Tobias is flying at night, he remarks that he wishes he trapped himself in an owl morph since his hawk vision sucks at night. This is the first indication in the series that perhaps Tobias' predicament may have been intentional.
- Tobias mentions that owls are known for hunting and killing falcons earlier on in the book. Later on, when Jake becomes a Controller and the Yeerk inside his head tries to escape using the falcon, Cassie uses an owl morph to subdue the falcon morph.
- This book marks the first of many times in the series where Rachel is referred to as "Xena, Warrior Princess".
- Temrash 114 mentions Gedd, Mak and Ssstram as alien races conquered by the Yeerk Empire. Although Gedd are seen later in several books, the Mak and Ssstram are never seen nor mentioned again.
- Visser Three morphs a human for the first time. It is unclear if this was a particular human or if he performed a Frolis Maneuver to create a unique human. In the Animorphs (TV series), Visser Three's human morph was a wealthy human named Victor Trent.
- A comment by Temrash hints that the Andalites have some dark secret behind their history with the Yeerks; this secret is explained in the later novel, The Alien.
- ANIBASE: Katherine Applegate must not have had too much fun imagining the morphs in this book! She tells us that she used to totally creep herself out when doing bug morphs. "I mean, sure, I might morph a tiger or a gorilla or a hawk," she says, "but a fly? A flea? A spider? No way!"
- ANIBASE: One of K.A.'s favorite reads is The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, a book that not only influenced her writing (namely, her teen series Everworld) but also some words and images to Animorphs; "yrch", the elvish word for orc, became Yeerk, the flamed red Eye of Sauron became the mysterious Big Red Eye in The Capture, and the name of a town became Ax's middle name!
- Jake asks where is he on p61; he knows where he is: on a Boston Market roof he mentioned on p59. However, this is most likely a case of Jake recounting details he had learned later on.
- Jake mentions that there is a flea sucking to "Tobias skin"; it should be written as "Tobias' skin" or as "Tobias's skin". This is rectified in the 2012 relaunched reprint.
- On p99, there are two thought-speak quotes missing, when Temrash says not to struggle. However, in the preview for #6, this quotes are in their proper place. This is rectified in the 2012 relaunch.
- Ax's full name spelled without the hyphens; this is fixed in the reprint.
- Ax says "I will acquire your DNA now Prince Jake", with the comma between "now" and "Prince" missing. This is fixed in the reprint.
- Temrash says he would be promoted to an Under-Visser. The correct term is Sub-Visser; this is fixed in the reprint.
- Temrash says he was promoted from 252 to 114. But later in the series, it is stated that it is the order of your birth in your generation that determines the number assigned.
- Ax forgets the 'Prince' title for Jake on p113.
2012 Relaunch Differences
- Roadrunner is spelled as "Road Runner" in the reprint.
- Ace bandage is changed to ACE bandage.
- In the 1997 edition, Jake says that he checked the automatic redial to trace Tom's calls. In the 2012 reprint, Jake states that he was "checking the calls" instead. This is due to modern phones having a Caller ID feature displaying what number was called last, as well as the registered name, whereas in 1997, one would have to redial the last called number called to find out who it was.
- In the 1997 edition, Rachel gripes that she has set her VCR to tape two of her favorite shows, but that she has forgotten to tape the movie of the week, with Cassie reassuring her that she has it taped. In the 2012 reprint, Rachel says that she set the TV to record her two favorite shows but forgot to record the movie of the week, and Cassie assuring her that she has set it to record herself.
- The original edition states that Tobias brought Jake to the roof of a Boston Market restaurant. In the reprint, it is changed to a generic "roof of a fast-food restaurant."
- In the 1997 edition, Jake reveals that he got his mother a near-mint condition copy of Spiderman #3 as a birthday gift. Not only does the 2012 reprint correctly rectify the spelling of Spider-Man's name, adding the hyphen, but it is also changed to Ultimate Spider-Man #3. The classic Amazing Spider-Man #3 comic came out in July 1963, whereas Ultimate Spider-Man #3 came out in 2000. The change was most likely done as a teenager nowadays would be unable to purchase a near-mint condition of the 1963 comic book for less than a few thousand dollars.
- In the original 1997 edition, Jake refers to the 1958 version of The Fly as "the old one" and the 1986 version as "the new one with Jeff Goldblum". In the 2012 reprint, this is changed so that Jake refers to the 1958 version as "the really old one" and the 1986 version as "the one with Jeff Goldblum."
- Jake mentions that there is a flea sucking to "Tobias skin" in the original edition; it should be written as "Tobias' skin" or as "Tobias's skin". The latter is used in the reprint.
- In the original edition, there are two thought-speak quotes missing, when Temrash says not to struggle. However, in the preview for #6, this quotes are in their proper place. This is rectified in the reprint.
- The original edition has Ax's full name spelled without the hyphens; this is fixed in the reprint.
- In the original, Ax says "I will acquire your DNA now Prince Jake", with the comma between "now" and "Prince" missing. This is fixed in the reprint.
- The spelling of the Sulp Niar pool is changed to "Sulp Niaar" in the reprint; additionally, the original edition spells Temrash's full name as "Temrash two-five-two" and "Temrash one-one-four". The spelling receives a slight alteration in the reprint in the form of "Temrash Two-Five-Two" and "Temrash One-One-Four".
- Rachel's comment in the original edition is spelled as "final Jeopardy"; the reprint merely states it as "Final Jeopardy."
- Temrash says he would be promoted to an Under-Visser. The correct term is Sub-Visser; this is fixed in the reprint.
- Jake reminds Temrash of the morphing time limit by saying "tick tock"; the reprint slightly modifies the spelling to "ticktock".
- In the original 1997 edition, Jake states that Temrash could easily access his memories, comparing it to sticking a cassette into a VCR. Additionally, he compares the memories he receives from Temrash as "transferring a document onto a floppy disk". In the 2012 reprint, Jake's initial comparison is changed to "as easily as watching a video" while his secondary remark is changed to "transferring a document onto a flash drive." The mention of the VCR and the floppy disk were removed by Scholastic as an effort to update outdated technological references in order to avoid making the series dated for modern readers.
Original Release - US Images
Original Release - International Covers
Original Release - International Back Covers
2012 Re-release Gallery