A tidal wave of muddled smells flooded towards me, forced its way down my throat, up my nose, through my eyes, my fingertips, choking me, blinding me, suffocating me. My stomach revolted. It punched the world out of me in a great vomiting gout, and I fell back, empty, into the silent darkness.Alyzon Whitestarr thinks of herself as more white mouse than star, until something happens that heightens her senses, enabling her to smell people's feelings, perceive their essences, and see flashes of their lives.She is shaken to discover that some people's spirits are afflicted by a strange and ravenous disease which is both sentient and hungry for new hosts. Seeking to learn how the disease is transmitted, Alyzon's investigations lead her to a mysterious entrepreneur, a secretive group of young people with a habit of violence, and ultimately back to her own beloved family, where she will learn a shattering truth about the world . . .Then Alyzon realises that, just as she can perceive the sickness, so the sickness can perceive her . . .