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A virus from billions of years in the past has emerged from ancient salt beds with devastating results. As the virus turns evolution on its head, people are changed into monsters, animals begin to demand their rights, and civilization is brought to its knees. The few remaining humans seek safety in the quarantine of walled cities such as the Vatican. They desperately seek a cure, but the only one they find may have results too horrible to contemplate

Judeus and Miranda, recent converts to the phylum Porifera, set out with a were-wolfish priest, a planeload of mutating pilgrims, and a sabre-tooth shape-shifting cat on their own journey from Miami to the Vatican. One wants to teach the Pope how to pray in this strange new world. The other wants to stop the cure being developed by the remaining humans. And they both want to get the Pope's final answer on whether non-humans should marry.

With their plane shot down over Africa, they learn that strange events are not limited just to the civilized parts of the world.

Is the virus God's punishment on the world? Or is there no god but the virus? Or is the virus going to create a new god? Can three sponge-monsters straighten this mess out?

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