In the second part of The Wormwood Trilogy (following Rosewater, 2018), a Nigerian city in an alternate near future experiences civil war among humans and alien creatures.
The Homians, aliens from a distant planet who have despoiled their own world, have uploaded digital copies of themselves onto vast servers and are planning a mass download…into us. They have seeded the Earth with xenoforms, alien microorganisms that have penetrated the environment and its flora and fauna. Over the years, the Nigerian city of Rosewater has grown up around Wormwood, a huge alien organism whose emanations have immense healing powers. Femi Alaagomeji of Nigerian intelligence agency S45 is concerned about the degree to which xenoforms have integrated with most people. And she’s right to be concerned; that integration opens the way for Homian download. But something goes awry with the first attempt to take over a human body; the being in the body of Alyssa Sutcliffe knows that she isn’t Alyssa, but she’s not quite sure who—or what—she is instead. S45 agent Aminat Arigbede attempts to bring “Alyssa” in for testing, even as Rosewood erupts on multiple fronts: Wormwood is under attack by another alien organism, a plantlike creature intended to act as a regulatory mechanism but instead gone wild; and Rosewood’s mayor, Jack Jacques, tries to consolidate power by announcing the city’s secession from Nigeria, which incites armed conflict in the streets. The key to settling both matters may lie with Kaaro, one of the only surviving psychic sensitives, who is both Aminat’s boyfriend and a friend to Anthony, Wormwood’s human avatar. However, Kaaro has no intention of allowing himself to become a pawn in Rosewater’s power games, in which loyalties shift so rapidly that even the reader races to figure out what side everyone’s on, if sides can even be defined.
A complexly layered and action-packed middle volume that sets the stage for the conclusion.