Now award-winning writer Carl Zimmer takes us on a fantastic voyage into the secret parasite universe we actually live in but haven't recognized.
He reveals not only that parasites are the most successful life-forms on Earth, but that they triggered the development of sex, shape ecosystems, and have driven the engine of evolution.
In mapping the parasite universe, Zimmer makes the astonishing observation that most species are parasites, and that almost every animal, including humans, will at one time or another become the home of a parasite.
Zimmer shows how highly evolved parasites are and describes the frightening and amazing ingenuity these commando invaders use to devour their hosts from the inside and control their behavior.
The sinister Sacculina carcini makes its home in an unlucky crab and proceeds to eat everything but what the crab needs to put food in its mouth, which Sacculina then consumes.
Single-celled Toxoplasma gondi has an even more insidious role, for it can invade the human brain.
From the steamy jungles of Costa Rica to the fetid parasite heaven of rebel-held southern Sudan, Zimmer tracks the genius of parasitic life and its impact on humanity.
If we are to achieve the sophistication of the parasites on display here in vivid detail, if we are to promote the flourishing of life in all its diversity as they do, we must learn the ways nature lives with itself, the laws of Parasite Rex.