|#47: The Resistance|
Detailed Plot: Despite being the leader of Earth's only hope against the invasion, Jake's got to behave like a good son and brother, and one of his duties this time involves cleaning out the basement. As he's doing so during a storm, he finds mementos from his dead great-grandfather. Even older mementos his Grandpa G kept were from the Civil War. Jake ponders his own war and the hopelessness he's dealing with now that the Yeerks are moving toward an overt invasion.
The perspective switches to Jake's distant relative, Isaiah Fitzhenry, and his experiences commanding in the Civil War. He's a young lieutenant, only twenty, and he's being forced to deal with the fact that his only line of communication has been cut by the Rebels. If the Union men are to be able to fight, he's going to have to figure out how to properly command them--even though many of them are sick with a spreading fever. Some ex-slaves show up and wish to fight on the Union's side, and Isaiah isn't sure what to do with them because such a thing is unheard-of; he's willing to let them dig trenches and help with labor, but he doesn't believe his men will fight beside them. Despite that, he knows they need men, and that these black men are dedicated to the cause. Isaiah recognizes the leadership skills of a man called Jacob, and though the group does agree to help dig entrenchments, it's clear this argument isn't over yet.
Back to Jake. He gets a coded phone call from Cassie in the wee hours of the morning, and finds that the Hork-Bajir colony is in danger. When he reports to the valley to see what the trouble is, he learns that the free Hork-Bajir rescued some more of their people but one of them was captured. They can only assume that the captured Hork-Bajir will be infested and used to find them. Jake wants everyone to abandon the valley and live to fight another day, but the Hork-Bajir want to stay and fight for their home. Jake doesn't know what to do. But because the Hork-Bajir won't retreat, he's forced to agree that he and the Animorphs will assist them in fighting off the Yeerks.
When we pick up with Isaiah again, he's visiting a prisoner: the Rebel soldier who was captured while cutting their telegraph line. Isaiah manages to trick the Rebel into giving him valuable information about the enemy, and then he goes to visit his own men who are sick or wounded. One of his friends, Corporal Carson, has severe frostbite on his feet and suffers from fever. He advises Isaiah to let the black volunteers fight with them against General Forrest's men. He starts to see no other way, and also trusts his friend to have good judgment. Later, at a party thrown by the husband of one of his nurses, Isaiah makes it clear that he respects the black men's wish to fight, and he is called a fool by many others who don't believe black soldiers should be acknowledged. They're convinced that giving them weapons would be a bad idea.
Jake sees campers in the woods and worries that they'll be caught in the crossfire when the Yeerks attack. And while he's investigating, he also gets inspired by watching beavers dam a pond. He decides that the Animorphs can do the same thing and direct a flood to wash the Yeerks away when they try to come into the valley. The group manages to acquire beaver morphs (with Cassie's help, though she gets bitten during the attempt), and they figure out how much water they'll need to flood the valley. And in Isaiah's storyline, the lieutenant is dealing with a similar problem; entrenchments aren't properly positioned, and Jacob is the man who helps him organize. But he still tells Jacob that they can't fight, even though he knows he needs them. This changes a bit when they receive news that the Rebels are on their way . . . and they're very close.
Jake and Tobias try to reason with the campers who are going to be casualties pretty soon if they don't leave. Unfortunately, their story sounds crazy to the campers and one of the adults accuses them of making it up so they can steal the campsite, so they're forced into full disclosure and they use morphing to prove they're serious. The campers now know that if they don't leave, they'll be killed by aliens. But they turn out to be a bunch of Star Trek fans who want to involve themselves with aliens, and despite Jake's gory realistic talk they want to help. Jake and Tobias end up having to take them back to the free Hork-Bajir valley and accept their help, since they've already involved them.
In Isaiah's storyline, the Rebels arrive and attack. The ex-slaves mainly hold their ground despite orders to retreat, and when Isaiah himself gets shot in the gut, Jacob helps pull him to safety. It turns out his belt buckle stopped the bullet from penetrating his body--just luck. It turns out their group only lost five men--compared to the Rebels' thirteen--and Isaiah begins to train the ex-slaves. They are undisciplined and have very little time or resources to practice, but they're brave and determined. They learn to load and fire their guns in high-stress situations, and soon they're ready. Isaiah swears the men in and makes them real soldiers.
Similarly, the Hork-Bajir are making weapons, and the volunteer campers join right in. The other Animorphs are informed of the campers' presence and have mixed reactions. Jake uses his beaver morph to help out with the dam they're building to collect water to unleash on the Yeerks when they attack. When Jake commands everyone to man their battle stations, it begins to dawn on the campers that this is actually life or death, and one of them panics a bit so Jake has to send him away. The formerly free Hork-Bajir who led them there is the first into the valley, and the battle erupts. Things are going well until Visser One arrives with his entourage of Taxxons. It's about to get ugly.
On Christmas morning, Isaiah and his men are ready for battle, and when the Rebels arrive they do well with the first wave until so many more start attacking. Isaiah tries to get Jacob to take his men and retreat since the Rebels always kill black men even if they take whites as prisoners. Jacob refuses to retreat. When the battle goes full-blown, Isaiah gets shot in the chest, and Jacob gets shot in the back. They fall together.
The visser has become a giant fire-breathing monster with eight heads, and he manages to incinerate many of the allies. Taxxons attack and eat many of the Hork-Bajir while the visser throws fire. Tobias gets injured by the fire monster and Jake ends up severely burning himself while trying to bite one of the heads. Jake sends a frantic message for the water to be released, but it takes longer than he expected. Finally the flood sprays through and whisks the visser and Taxxons away, and even though Jake knows it's technically a victory, he has a hard time seeing it that way when he sees how many are dead. One of the campers--the one who retreated--is also dead, leaving two orphaned children.
Toby and the other free Hork-Bajir realize they have to leave the valley now that the Yeerks could easily return. After dealing with their wounds, they march up into the hills to hide, but Toby knows they paid for the valley and earned it. Jake returns home and relieves the Chee who's been posing as him. He takes a look at Isaiah's journal and reads his final words about being killed--apparently he had used his last moments to record his hope that he had done his best. Jake hopes he's done his best too.
Narrators: Jake, Isaiah Fitzhenry
New known controllers:
New morphs acquired:
This book is ghostwritten by Ellen Geroux.
This is the first book that doesn't give a whole first chapter of exposition, and then some, to explain the Yeerk invasion, the morphing process and its origins, and the group's motivation. Seems that at #47 in the series, the publishers assumed people who are reading it probably know the story by now. However, since it goes back to the pattern of giving a summary/introduction in the very next book, this appears to be an anomaly.
The narration makes a point of claiming that they'd learned to morph "decent clothes," and how they looked a lot saner than they would have if they'd been standing around in spandex. That doesn't appear to be the case in any of the later books, since even in the last book morphing outfits are still in use.
At one point Ax has two lines of spoken dialogue rendered in quotation marks instead of thought-speak. But there is no reason explained for why he would be standing around in human morph at that point, especially since no mention of his demorphing is mentioned and he is speaking in thought-speak very shortly after the spoken conversation. (It happens when Ax is discussing his experience in fluid mechanics, in chapter thirteen.)
The word "its" is used once when "it's" was supposed to be used ("Its a long story"), and on four occasions "Negroes" is misspelled "Negros." "Calloused" is used when it really should be "callused."
It's not really clear why some of Isaiah's chapters have quite a lot of present tense in them, but also switch into past tense often.
Obviously capture of a once-free Hork-Bajir would endanger the valley, but nothing is said about whether the "Andalite bandits" would have their identities revealed. If that's not a piece of information the Yeerks now know, then the captured Hork-Bajir must not have known that they were humans. Do the Hork-Bajir generally not know?
Tobias is asked to go spy on the advancing Yeerks at one time and claims he may not have seen particularly well because his hawk eyes are not great at night. Considering most of the others have owl morphs, it seems very curious that none of them did this job, though at least in this situation it didn't end up mattering.
Jake: Exhaustion can make you act like a jerk.
Jake: I was the leader of a group of resistance fighters, Earth's only hope for freedom, and I had to clean the basement to earn a lousy twenty bucks. Talk about irony.
Rebel soldier: "So the Union has a kid in charge. Yankees got a boy commander."
Tobias: "I'm thinking the morph should be a little more, I don't know, glamorous. I mean, going beaver to save an entire colony of aliens is like putting James Bond behind the wheel of a minivan. With a bumper sticker that says, 'World's Greatest Mom.' No offense."
Ax: "Three to four thousand cubic meters. I believe that is what it will take to inundate the valley."
Ax: "Fluid mechanics was one of my specialties as an aristh."