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Melanie Stryder is one of few "wild" humans - rebels who have evaded the alien souls that have taken over the Earth. With her younger brother Jamie and the man she loves, Jared Howe, Mel is on the run from souls who hunt down host bodies for use. Souls are creatures that rely upon host bodies to survive. After insertion, they erase any mental presence of the being there prior and establish a claim over the body and mind. Earth is Wanderer's ninth planet, and Mel is her ninth host body. Upon waking inside her new body, she is shocked not only by the vividness of human emotions, memories, and senses, but quickly learns that Melanie Stryder is not willing to give up the entirety of her mind.