Rachel is a scavenger, eking out a living in the barren landscape that is the City. The land around her is filled with danger -- other scavengers, toxic run-off, monsters created from by genetic engineers who fell to their own creations. Chief among this is Mord, a giant flying bear, the greatest of The Company's creations.

One day, while scavenging the hide of the sleeping behemoth, Rachel finds what appears to be a plant, or perhaps a squid of some sort. She brings it back to the building she shares with rouge geneticist Wick. Soon she discovers that the creature, that she names Borne, is sentient, capable of speech, and capable of changing shapes to just about anything.

Rachel "raises" Borne, trying to keep him safe despite the dangers around them...and the dangers posed by Borne himself.

Jeff VanderMeer explores questions of identity and personhood while telling a compelling and gripping story.