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"Welcome to the Animorphs, new boy."
Marco to David[src]

The Discovery, published in July 1998 and written by K.A. Applegate and Michael Grant, is the twentieth book in the Animorphs series and the first book in The David Trilogy. It is the sixth book narrated by Marco and his fourth book as sole narrator.


Official Description

The blue box Elfangor used to create the Animorphs has been found by a kid named David. David has no idea what he has -- or what it can do. But Marco does. And when he sees David with it, he knows the Animorphs have to get that box. At any cost.

But what should have been a simple plan ends up going horribly wrong. And David is on the run with the Animorphs and Ax. Now they have only two choices: turn David over to the Yeerks. Or make him the sixth Animorph.

Plot Summary

After failing miserably to pick up a girl at his locker, Marco is stymied to find a boy carrying the morphing cube, also known as the Escafil Device. Marco introduces himself to the new boy, David, and lamely tries to buy the box off him, but David ignores him. Marco tells Jake about it, and both agree that the situation needs to be taken care of immediately. But that's not the only surprise in store for them. Erek King tells them that the presidents and prime ministers of Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, and the U.S. are gathering at the Marriott Resort on the city coast to discuss the problems in the Middle East. Erek also tells them that the Yeerks are plotting to infest each leader, and soon the most powerful nations in the world would be under Yeerk influence. The biggest problem is that one of these heads of state is already a Controller. Now the Animorphs need two plans: one to retrieve the blue box, and another to stop the Yeerks from infesting the powerful leaders.

Marco, Tobias and Rachel try to raid David's house in bird-of-prey morphs. Unfortunately, it fails miserably. Tobias is rendered temporarily dazed, Marco is attacked by David's cat, and David shoots Rachel with his BB gun. The next day at school, David tells Marco his seemingly ridiculous story about trained birds, and discusses his plan to sell the blue box online. Jake tells Marco to skip the rest of the school day in order to stop the automatic e-mail David has set up from going out.

Animorphs discovery book 20 inside cover

Marco morphed as David's cobra Spawn underneath David's bed, while a Hork-Bajir controller invades the house

During school, Marco takes Ax with him to stop David's e-mail from being sent. Unfortunately, they're too late, due to David's computer's clock being an hour fast. Marco acquires Spawn, David's contraband, defanged cobra. Visser Three storms into David's house with a team of Hork-Bajir. A fight ensues between the Yeerks and the Animorphs, destroying David's house. Rachel, in bear morph, rams David out the window, and the Animorphs retreat. The Yeerks withdraw with David's mother and father.

The Animorphs are unsure of what to do with David; although Ax draws attention to the fact that they can use the box to give him the power to morph, the Animorphs vote on whether or not to do it. Marco and Ax decide that they cannot risk recruiting David, given his strange behavior and their lack of knowledge of him. Tobias votes to take him in out of moral concern, while Rachel and Cassie decide that David might be their ticket to recruiting more Animorphs. With Marco and Ax outvoted, they reveal to David the Yeerk invasion and give him the morphing power.

From the very beginning of his recruitment, David displays his eagerness to kill, and disobeys Jake's orders. On the way to the Marriott resort, David indiscriminately kills a crow, although he passes it off as his morph's instincts taking control. As they near the resort, they spot the Blade ship taking a Marine One helicopter hostage. Not sure whether it is the real Marine One or the decoy, the Animorphs, fearing that the Yeerks might have just captured the President of the United States, enter the Visser's ship through the open hatch. The Animorphs morph roaches and discover that Visser Three is not infesting whomever he kidnapped, but rather acquiring his DNA. As the Animorphs run to hide under the helicopter, the hatch opens once again, and all five cockroaches tumble through the air, falling down to the beach below.



Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:



Major/Highlighted Events

  • David, a new kid at school, finds the morphing cube while investigating the Abandoned Construction Site. Marco spots David at school holding the box, and attempts to buy it off of him, although he has no money. Marco alerts the other Animorphs and they come up with a plan to steal the box from David's house that night.
  • Ax reveals that the official name for the cube is the Escafil Device.
  • While preparing for their heist, Erek King informs them that the leaders of France, Germany, Russia, Japan, England and the United States are having a massive conference at the Marriott Resort off the city coast, and that the Yeerks are planning to infest them all. To make matters worse, at least one of them is a Controller already.
  • Marco, Rachel and Tobias attempt to steal the Escafil Device, but fail. David wonders why birds would try to steal his blue box and believes that the box is so valuable that someone has used trained birds in order to obtain it. David puts the blue box online for sale and receives an offer, and Marco realizes that Visser Three is the intended buyer. Jake orders Marco to skip school and prevent the e-mail that David has set on a timer, that would reveal his home address, and Marco brings Ax with him. However, they are unable to stop the e-mail from being sent.
  • A massive fight ensues inside David's house, with Visser Three in a Dule Fansa morph and an army of Hork-Bajir and human-Controllers fighting against Marco in a king cobra morph, Ax and Tobias in their regular forms, and Jake, Rachel and Cassie in their tiger, grizzly bear and wolf morphs. The fight destroys David's house, and while the Animorphs manage to take David and the cube, David's parents are taken and infested.
  • The Animorphs grapple with two decisions: to leave the unconscious David in the alley and allow him to become infested, or to use the Escafil Device on him and make him morph-capable, thereby creating a new Animorph. After a vote, the Animorphs explain the Yeerk invasion to David while Ax activates the cube, granting David the power to morph.
  • David joins the Animorphs, increasing their numbers from six to seven.
  • While on a mission scouting the Marriott Resort, David deliberately kills a crow while in golden eagle morph, signaling to Marco that there is something off about David's behavior and personality.


Morpher Morphs acquired Morphs used
Jake -- Peregrine Falcon, Siberian Tiger, Rhinoceros, Cockroach
Rachel -- Bald Eagle, Grizzly Bear
Tobias -- --
Cassie -- Osprey, Wolf, Cockroach
Marco King Cobra (Spawn) Osprey, King Cobra (Spawn), Silverback Gorilla (Big Jim), Cockroach
Ax -- Northern Harrier, Wolf Spider, Human (Main), Cockroach
David North American Golden Eagle, Lion, Cockroach North American Golden Eagle, Cockroach
Visser Three Human (Tony) Dule Fansa


  • The cover quote is, "Get ready. There's a brand-new Animorph...."
  • The inside front cover quote is, "This is no snake in the grass...."
  • This book is the first of a three-book arc known as "The David Trilogy."
  • Marco reveals that his mother was born outside the United States.
  • This marks the second time in the series that an animal does not go into a trance when being acquired.
  • Despite being in control of an Andalite, Visser Three never refers to the morphing cube as the Escafil Device, only as the blue box. This is most likely because Alloran himself would be unaware of its true name, as he was an older generation warrior not knowledgeable in the arts or sciences.
  • This is the second instance in the series where an Animorph acquires a morph but does not use the morph in the same book. David acquires a lion morph in this book, but morphs it for the first time in the next book. Jake acquired a termite in The Secret, although not only did he not use the termite morph in that book, but he never used the morph at all during the series.
  • This is the first time Marco uses thought-speak to have a conversation with strangers. However, it is not Marco's first time using thought-speak to communicate with someone outside of the Animorphs, as he directed a one-liner towards a human-Controller in The Stranger. Excluding David, Marco is the last Animorph to have done so, with every other Animorph (including Tobias and Ax) having had conversations with non-Animorphs using thought-speak before.
  • ANIBASE : Way back in December of 1997, the Scholastic Website hosted a week long "chat" with K.A. Applegate. Everyday for a week she would come onto the message board they had set up and answer questions from her readers. One of those readers, a boy named Justin Mullins, asked if he could have his name written into a book. K.A. agreed, but said that she'd only do it for him, since he asked first. Likewise, a class from Grassy Creek Elementary School asked if they could perhaps get a dedication, and again K.A. agreed. It's in this book that K.A. chose to place both Grassy Creek and Justin: Grassy Creek's dedication is right above the ever present dedication for Michael and Jake, and Justin's namesake is a boy who chases Marco around the school.
  • Publication Note: A price change occurred for the regular Animorphs books starting with this book (#20) by going up $1. Books from #1-19 were originally $3.99 US ($4.99 CAN), and Books #20-54 were changed to $4.99 US ($5.99 CAN).


  • Ax wonders what a human pool is used for, although he had already learned of this in The Andalite's Gift.
  • When the Animorphs wonder what to do with David, Ax suggests that they use the Escafil Device to make him morph-capable. Jake decides to put it to a vote, and despite Ax suggesting the idea in the first place, Ax protests against the idea, citing unnecessary risk.
  • David is moved to Jake's house, as the Animorphs realize every Controller would be looking for David. However, Jake's brother, Tom, is a Controller who also resides in the very same house.
  • On p130, there's a thought-speak sign at an end of the paragraph, when no one is talking.


U.S. Images

International Covers

Main Series #1 The Invasion | #2 The Visitor | #3 The Encounter | #4 The Message | #5 The Predator | #6 The Capture | #7 The Stranger | #8 The Alien | #9 The Secret | #10 The Android | #11 The Forgotten | #12 The Reaction | #13 The Change | #14 The Unknown | #15 The Escape | #16 The Warning | #17 The Underground | #18 The Decision | #19 The Departure | #20 The Discovery | #21 The Threat | #22 The Solution | #23 The Pretender | #24 The Suspicion | #25 The Extreme | #26 The Attack | #27 The Exposed | #28 The Experiment | #29 The Sickness | #30 The Reunion | #31 The Conspiracy | #32 The Separation | #33 The Illusion | #34 The Prophecy | #35 The Proposal | #36 The Mutation | #37 The Weakness | #38 The Arrival | #39 The Hidden | #40 The Other | #41 The Familiar | #42 The Journey | #43 The Test | #44 The Unexpected | #45 The Revelation | #46 The Deception | #47 The Resistance | #48 The Return | #49 The Diversion | #50 The Ultimate | #51 The Absolute | #52 The Sacrifice | #53 The Answer | #54 The Beginning
Megamorphs The Andalite's Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor's Secret | Back to Before
Chronicles The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | VISSER | The Ellimist Chronicles
Alternamorphs The First Journey | The Next Passage
TV Tie-Ins Meet the Stars of Animorphs
Graphic Novels #1 The Invasion | #2 The Visitor | #3 The Encounter | #4 The Message | #5 The Predator | #6 The Capture