The Yeerks are finally starting to realize that the "Andalite bandits" are probably not aliens at all. They're finally starting to realize that maybe they've been dealing with humans all along. And no one - especially the newly appointed Visser One - is happy with this knowledge. Not happy at all.
When Tobias, the other Animorphs, and Ax realize that the Yeerks are about to find them, it's by accident. But that doesn't make the discovery any less serious. Because in a war, one side wins. And one side loses...
- The Yeerks begin to realize the "Andalite bandits" are humans. The Animorphs discover the Yeerks have been testing the DNA patterns in the blood they have left in their countless battles. When they discover the traces of human DNA they begin running massive amounts of tests on blood which has been stored in the area in order to discover a genetic match or root out the Animorphs' families. Using this process a genetic match between Tobias and his mother, Loren, is discovered and gives the Yeerks proof that at least some the 'Andalite bandits' are in fact human. They go through a brutal battle at the laboratory where they discover this information in which Marco is nearly killed. After they retreat to Cassie's barn, Jake orders that they all go home and 'sleep on it', the Animorphs will meet in the morning to decide whether or not to evacuate their families thereby revealing their identities and taking the fight into the open.
Loren, at left, and her son Tobias (in Champ morph) in a supermarket aisle.Tobias does not return to his meadow but goes to the address the blood databank gave for his mother. He is crestfallen to discover that it is only a few blocks from the house in which he lived with his uncle yet his mother never once came to visit him or showed any interest in her son at all. Tobias easily spots that she is being watched by the Yeerks. He observes Loren leaving the house with a dog, and quickly realizes that Loren is blind. With the guide dog she walks to a church where she apparently volunteers as a crisis phone line operator, and Tobias follows her.
In the morning the Animorphs unanimously agree to immediately evacuate their families. Cassie and Rachel reveal to their families the truth of the invasion and evacuate them to the Hork-Bajir valley. Ax helps with rescuing Rachel's mother and sisters. Jake tries to rescue his parents as well with the plan that they will subdue Tom and starve the Yeerk out of him at long last freeing Jake's brother. But they appear to be out of the house when the Animorphs arrive, in fact Tom's Yeerk has already had Jake's parents infested and they spring a trap for the waiting Animorphs. They escape and Jake morphs falcon in front of the Yeerks, because he wants to show that he has been fighting all along to inspire fear in the Yeerks and hope in his family that he will rescue them.
Tobias morphs his mother's guide dog and spends the night at his mother's house. In the morning he finally meets Loren, who he discovers had lost her memory in an accident years before. But she knew she did have a son, and hoped that he was happy. Tobias laments the fact that he never knew her, and tells her he needed a mother. Tobias then hatches a scheme to help Loren escape by giving her the morphing power. She morphs Tobias in hawk form and they embark on a desperate escape which leads to another battle that they barely escape. During the battle Loren throws herself in front of danger to protect Tobias and is nearly killed. Loren is then evacuated to the Hork-Bajir valley. The morphing ability restores Loren's vision, but not her memories. Tobias still longs for his mother's love and affection which she displays for her beloved guide dog but not for him, however Tobias remembers that she did throw herself in front of danger to protect Tobias. The book ends with Jake as an emotional wreck and the Animorphs safely evacuated to the Hork-Bajir valley with their families. Tobias sits beside Jake and thinks that he and Jake have almost switched places, Tobias has always been the loner without a family and now his family is here with him and Jake is all alone. Tobias reassures Jake that they will keep fighting and they will rescue his family
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Jake||Peregrine falcon, Hork-Bajir, housefly, Siberian tiger (brief morph)|
|Rachel||German Shepherd (Champ)||African elephant, grizzly bear, bald eagle|
|Cassie||Hork-Bajir, wolf, fly, osprey|
|Tobias||German Shepherd (Champ)||German Shepherd, human (himself), housefly, Hork-Bajir|
|Marco||German Shepherd (Champ)||Hork-Bajir, fly, osprey, gorilla|
|Ax||Hork-Bajir, fly, northern harrier, human|
|Loren||Red-tailed hawk (Tobias)||Red-tailed hawk (Tobias)|
- The cover quote is, "This war can't go on forever. Will it be us? Or them...?"
- The Yeerks learn the true identities of the Animorphs.
- Tobias is reunited with his mother, Loren.
- The inside cover quote is, "Nobody dogs Tobias--except Tobias..."
- This is the final book to be fully narrated by Tobias.