In 1985, Earth is attacked by an alien horde, sent by a giant biomass floating through space that spawns tens of thousands of vicious children. In the Northeastern United States, wild carders help contain the horde’s first attack, although human casualties are high. Meanwhile, the arrival of the Swarm Mother is connected to a cult of Egyptian Freemasons controlled by wild card villains, headed by the reprehensible Astronomer; the members of this cult hope to bring the Swarm Mother to earth. You’d think things couldn’t get much worse, but suddenly the Takisians (the alien creators of the wild card virus) show up in the form of the Tisianne family. The good-guy wild cards must unite to fight off the Takisians, to overthrow the Masons, and ultimately to defeat the Swarm Mother by merging her with a more benign ace personality.
Aces High, the second Wild Cards novel, was published in 1987. The first book in the series related the origin and history of the wild card virus and provided worldbuilding via somewhat discreet stories covering a 40-year period. Aces High, in contrast, focuses on a unified storyline to which each author contributes, with many of the characters’ paths interwoven throughout. Nine authors wrote for the volume, which includes full chapters and interstitial segments to link them together.