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The Gabon Virus [NOOK Book]

Overview

In the face of a new plague that threatens the world, our forensic heroes investigate the past to save the future— studying evidence from when the Black plague decimated a small english village eyam, pronounced eem, during the seventeenth-century.

After the greedy founders of a scientific research laboratory intentionally infect subjects with a deadly plague in order to develop a lucrative vaccine, the plague spreads beyond the lab’s control. ...
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The Gabon Virus

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Overview

In the face of a new plague that threatens the world, our forensic heroes investigate the past to save the future— studying evidence from when the Black plague decimated a small english village eyam, pronounced eem, during the seventeenth-century.

After the greedy founders of a scientific research laboratory intentionally infect subjects with a deadly plague in order to develop a lucrative vaccine, the plague spreads beyond the lab’s control. A top-secret government team of scientists covertly begins to research a solution. They turn their attention to the seventeenth-century—the only other time when a widespread plague ravaged the world—for clues on how to prevent this disaster from happening again. In particular, the scientists are interested in how eighty people from the village of Eyam were able to remain virtually untouched by the plague at the height of the Black Death’s deadly reign over Europe. But trouble is afoot in Eyam—grave robberies, grisly murders, and the bizarre reappearance of the Blue Monk—a legendary, spectral figure from the time of the plague. Can he be real? And who’s trying to stop the team from discovering the truth about Eyam? Distinguished authors Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore, M.D. have collaborated to deliver this sweeping, fast-paced novel that spans the globe and transcends time. Sure to leave readers wanting more, The Eyam Factor is a riveting introduction to the authors’ new Time Scene Investigators series.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I was on the edge of my seat from the very first page of The Gabon Virus and didn't breathe again until I turned the last page. Fast-paced and gripping, this book will make us all think, This could happen." — Debbie Macomber, New York Times bestselling novelist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439168363
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication date: 8/18/2009
  • Series: TSI
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 289,122
  • File size: 7 MB

Meet the Author


Paul McCusker
is a Peabody Award-winning writer and  director who has written novels, plays, audio dramas, and musicals for children and adults. He currently has over thirty books in print. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Walt Larimore, M.D.
is a noted physician, award-winning writer, and medical journalist who hosted the cable television show on Fox’s Health Network, Ask the Family Physician. He lives in Monument, Colorado.
Paul McCusker is the Peabody Award–winning writer and director of the audio drama Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom and of the multiple award-winning audio dramatizations of The Chronicles of Narnia, Les Miserables, A Christmas Carol, Little Women, and his original series The Luke Reports (just nominated for the Audie Awards’ Best Audio Drama) and The Father Gilbert Mysteries (also nominated for the Audie Awards’ best production award).  

He is also a writer and director for the long-running children’s program Adventures in Odyssey, writing not only over 250 audio episodes, but also scripting two of the animated video series and eighteen spin-off novels.  For adults, McCusker has written the Gold Medallion–nominated Epiphany, The Mill House, and A Season of Shadows. His plays and musicals have been performed in community theatres across the country—one, A Time for Christmas, was a Dove Award nominee. McCusker currently has over thirty books in print, including the TSI series he is co-authoring with Walt Larimore, MD. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Walt Larimore has been called one of America’s “best-known family physicians.” He was awarded the 2004 Christianity Today Book Award for coauthoring Going Public with Your Faith and has been a Gold Medallion Book Award finalist three times. The author of the popular Bryson City Tales series, he lives in Monument, Colorado.
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE
July 15, 1666

Rebekah Smythe loo ked down at her brother's lifeless body, his eyes staring vacantly toward the heaven he had hoped and prayed to inhabit. With a pale and trembling hand, she reached down and closed his eyelids.

She had done the same for her father and three of her sisters — all lying still now in their shallow graves not far from their home; so silent after their days of suffering and anguish. She could not weep for them. Her tears were spent long ago.

She looked at the makeshift cots on which her mother and youngest sister slept fitfully. They had come down with the symptoms just two days earlier. She dared not hold out hope for their survival. In another day or two, if all went as it had for the rest of her family, they'd be gone and she'd be alone. Alone.

By the grace of God, she had resisted the illness. Yet the outcome of her survival would be loneliness. In her darker moments, she wondered how far God's grace could carry her.

Agnes Hull, who lived in the next cottage down, had also survived the Black Plague and claimed that the warm bacon fat she drank was the reason. She left bottles of the wretched liquid at the doors of afflicted families, but unfortunately, it didn't work for Rebekah's family.

John Dicken, who worked in the local mines, was also a survivor. Believing himself immune, he had established himself as Eyam's village grave digger. He would offer his services the instant he heard of another victim. After burying the body away from town, he would return to claim the burial fee — reportedly taking whatever he fancied. Most were too sick to stop him. Besides, what use was their money if they were dead? Few of the men were well enough to take the job from Dicken, and it wasn't as if anyone new would arrive to challenge him. After all, the village was under strict quarantine.

Rebekah sat on a stool, staring at the fire. Pushing a lock of hair away from her face, she was overcome by a feeling of selfpity. How had it come to this? Who could have foreseen last September that something as unassuming as a box of cloth from London would start such an epidemic? Mr. George Viccars, a traveling tailor, certainly couldn't have. As he opened the box — wet from a rainstorm — and laid the cloth out to dry, he could not have imagined what he was unleashing upon them all. Within a day, he developed the telltale symptoms of rose-colored spots on his skin and quickly died.

The Earl, the village's patron, sent his personal physician from the castle to examine the tailor's body. The doctor's diagnosis was Black Plague. It had arrived in Eyam.

And so began a year of terror.

The village had rallied together. Catherine Mompesson, the vicar's wife, bravely visited the sick families. Ignoring the risk to herself and her family, she had brought words of comfort and a bouquet of sweet-smelling posies, believing it would ward off the stench of disease.

As she sipped some ale, Rebekah thought about the rhyme sung by local children:

Ring a-ring o' roses,

A pocketful of posies.

a-tishoo! a-tishoo!

We all fall down.

The rhyme went through her mind again and again —

The knock on the door startled her. Few of the villagers would be out and about at this late hour. Perhaps it was the vicar's wife or the grave digger.

She stood and crossed the room to the door. Her hand was poised above the latch when it occurred to her who might be calling.

Him.

Despite the still warm air of the summer night, she felt a chill go down her spine.

The monk.

He came to the families to aid the sick, comfort the dying, and offer peace to the grieving. The women of the village spoke of him as an angel of light. The men called him a demon, unnerved as they were by the mysterious way in which he appeared and disappeared into thin air. Worse was his appearance. Rebekah had not seen it for herself, but the village gossips claimed that beneath his monk's cowl, he had skin the color of deep water. Blue, they said. The monk's skin was blue. A curse, the men said.

She could not believe that a man of God, one so merciful and compassionate, could be cursed.

She lifted the latch and opened the door.

The Gabon Virus © 2009 Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore, M.D.

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Introduction

Questions for Discussion

1. The book deals with characters who are Catholic (Nora, the Sisters of Mercy), Anglican (Father Andrew, Joan, Philip the Gardener), Evangelical Protestant (David and Aaron Mosley, Pastor Wyn, and the members of The Compound), agnostic (Mark), and atheist (Sam, Nathan Dodge, and others). To what extent was each faith group accurately or inaccurately portrayed?

2. When General Sam Mosley pushed the button to destroy the underground lab, was he "playing God"? Do you think he may have killed anyone? Was his action justifiable?

3. Ahaz Pharmaceuticals paid David Mosley and his congregation a great deal of money to test an experimental vaccine. What was their motivation? Were their actions or motives ethical? Were they right to do this? Why or why not?

4. On the flip side, were the leaders of the Compound right to participate in this experiment? Do you think they knew all the risks and benefits? If so, do you think they fully (or should have) explained these to every member of the compound?

5. Do parents have the right to subject their children to medical experiments like this? If so, under what circumstances?

6. David Mosley and his congregants chose to commit suicide rather than face a certain and horrible death. They believed a peaceful, painless death was preferable to a horrible death. Was their thinking rational? Would the Bible offer any insight to them? Does the Bible give us any insight as to what we should consider when we face pain and suffering?

7. Do you believe groups such as the Return to Earth Society exist? Upon what would they base their beliefs? How do you feel about animal rights groups that seem to place moreemphasis on animal rights than human rights?

8. When Mark Carlson's daughter died, he became angry with God and abandoned his faith. Have you ever had an experience in which you became angry at God? Have you ever felt God didn't make sense? Did this strengthen or weaken your faith? How?

9. The illness and death of their daughter put a terrific strain on Mark and Donna's marriage, eventually leading to their divorce. Have you walked a similar path? If so, how did you deal with this?

10. Georgina was falsely accused of being a member of the Return to Earth Society? Have you ever been falsely accused of something? How did it make you feel? Have you ever accused someone of something they did not do? Did you apologize? Was it difficult? How did this affect your relationship with the other person?

12. General Sam Mosley realized a number of mistakes he had made as a father and grandfather. What were they? What do you think he would do differently? What could you do to become a better spouse and parent?

13. In the book, the Blue Monk seemed to reappear as a ghost. Do you believe in ghosts? Do you think the theological explanations given by Mark and Father Andrew are valid?

14. Aaron fled from a number of enemies, both imagined and real. Have you ever felt that you were surrounded by people who mean to hurt you? How did you respond? What gave you hope? What help did you find in your time of need?

15. Margaret, the members of the mob that hunted the Blue Monk, and their descendents returned every year to the Silver Cathedral to honor the Blue Monk, his ministry, his legacy, and to pay homage and penance. Which of their activities would have Biblical support? Which would not? Were they right to keep this secret? Were they right to make the vow they made?

16. Margaret chose to forgive Joshua Parke for his roll in the death of her beloved brother. Could you have done the same? If Joshua had not asked for forgiveness, would Margaret have been right to withhold forgiveness? Why should she forgive him? What might have happened to her had she chosen not to forgive him?

17. Margaret adopted young Joshua Parke. Why do you think she did this? Why do Christians support and emphasize adoption and care of orphans? How did this change Joshua's life? How do you think it might have changed Margaret?

18. Mark risked his life to bring the medication to Sam and Aaron. In what circumstances would you consider doing the same thing? For whom would you do this? Loved ones? Total strangers? Why?

19. How did Mark's faith change as he was challenged by Nora and witnessed firsthand how faith works in the lives of others?

20. Have you encountered someone whose faith seemed so real that inspired or challenged you? Who was that person? What attributes did he or she exemplify to you? Do you demonstrate your faith in a way that speaks to others? If so, how?

Paul McCusker is the Peabody Award-winning writer and director of the audio drama Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom and of the multiple award-winning audio dramatizations of The Chronicles of Narnia, Les Miserables, A Christmas Carol, Little Women, and his original series The Father Gilbert Mysteries.  He is also a writer and director for the long-running children's program Adventures in Odyssey, writing not only over 250 audio episodes, but scripting two of the animated video series and eighteen spin-off novels.  For adults, he has written the Gold Medallion-nominated Epiphany, The Mill House, and A Season of Shadows. His plays and musicals have been performed in community theatres across the country. He currently has over thirty books in print. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Walter L. Larimore, MD, has been called one of "America's best-known family physicians" and listed in ?Distinguished Physicians of America,? ?The Best Doctors in America,? and ?Who's Who in America.? As a medical journalist, he has hosted the award-winning cable TV show, Ask the Family Physician, on Fox's Health Network (1995-2000) and the nationally distributed Focus on Your Family's Health radio and TV features (2001-2005). As an award-winning writer, he was awarded the 2004 Christianity Today Book Award for co-writing Going Public with Your Faith: Becoming a Spiritual Influence at Work. He has been a Gold Medallion Book Award finalist three times—for the Going Public book and small-group video series, as well as his book The Highly Healthy Child.  He also authored the popular Bryson City Tales books. He lives in Monument, Colorado.

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Reading Group Guide


Questions for Discussion

1. The book deals with characters who are Catholic (Nora, the Sisters of Mercy), Anglican (Father Andrew, Joan, Philip the Gardener), Evangelical Protestant (David and Aaron Mosley, Pastor Wyn, and the members of The Compound), agnostic (Mark), and atheist (Sam, Nathan Dodge, and others). To what extent was each faith group accurately or inaccurately portrayed?

2. When General Sam Mosley pushed the button to destroy the underground lab, was he "playing God"? Do you think he may have killed anyone? Was his action justifiable?

3. Ahaz Pharmaceuticals paid David Mosley and his congregation a great deal of money to test an experimental vaccine. What was their motivation? Were their actions or motives ethical? Were they right to do this? Why or why not?

4. On the flip side, were the leaders of the Compound right to participate in this experiment? Do you think they knew all the risks and benefits? If so, do you think they fully (or should have) explained these to every member of the compound?

5. Do parents have the right to subject their children to medical experiments like this? If so, under what circumstances?

6. David Mosley and his congregants chose to commit suicide rather than face a certain and horrible death. They believed a peaceful, painless death was preferable to a horrible death. Was their thinking rational? Would the Bible offer any insight to them? Does the Bible give us any insight as to what we should consider when we face pain and suffering?

7. Do you believe groups such as the Return to Earth Society exist? Upon what would they base their beliefs? How do you feel about animal rights groups that seem to place more emphasis on animal rights than human rights?

8. When Mark Carlson's daughter died, he became angry with God and abandoned his faith. Have you ever had an experience in which you became angry at God? Have you ever felt God didn't make sense? Did this strengthen or weaken your faith? How?

9. The illness and death of their daughter put a terrific strain on Mark and Donna's marriage, eventually leading to their divorce. Have you walked a similar path? If so, how did you deal with this?

10. Georgina was falsely accused of being a member of the Return to Earth Society? Have you ever been falsely accused of something? How did it make you feel? Have you ever accused someone of something they did not do? Did you apologize? Was it difficult? How did this affect your relationship with the other person?

12. General Sam Mosley realized a number of mistakes he had made as a father and grandfather. What were they? What do you think he would do differently? What could you do to become a better spouse and parent?

13. In the book, the Blue Monk seemed to reappear as a ghost. Do you believe in ghosts? Do you think the theological explanations given by Mark and Father Andrew are valid?

14. Aaron fled from a number of enemies, both imagined and real. Have you ever felt that you were surrounded by people who mean to hurt you? How did you respond? What gave you hope? What help did you find in your time of need?

15. Margaret, the members of the mob that hunted the Blue Monk, and their descendents returned every year to the Silver Cathedral to honor the Blue Monk, his ministry, his legacy, and to pay homage and penance. Which of their activities would have Biblical support? Which would not? Were they right to keep this secret? Were they right to make the vow they made?

16. Margaret chose to forgive Joshua Parke for his roll in the death of her beloved brother. Could you have done the same? If Joshua had not asked for forgiveness, would Margaret have been right to withhold forgiveness? Why should she forgive him? What might have happened to her had she chosen not to forgive him?

17. Margaret adopted young Joshua Parke. Why do you think she did this? Why do Christians support and emphasize adoption and care of orphans? How did this change Joshua's life? How do you think it might have changed Margaret?

18. Mark risked his life to bring the medication to Sam and Aaron. In what circumstances would you consider doing the same thing? For whom would you do this? Loved ones? Total strangers? Why?

19. How did Mark's faith change as he was challenged by Nora and witnessed firsthand how faith works in the lives of others?

20. Have you encountered someone whose faith seemed so real that inspired or challenged you? Who was that person? What attributes did he or she exemplify to you? Do you demonstrate your faith in a way that speaks to others? If so, how?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

4 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2009

    Jack Bauer, you have competition!

    As a physician I very much enjoy medical-oriented mysteries and am an avid reader of Robin Cooks novels. The Gabon virus ranks right up there and I cannot wait for a sequel. Open the book, start reading and try putting it down - very hard to do. If this were a TV series it would hold attention like Jack Bauer's 24 as things happen very fast! One is constantly wanting to turn the page to see what is next. The entire plot is incredibly believable which makes it even more scary. The medical sophistication of virology is their but Walt Larimore is a master at making anyone understand complex medical issues. I highly recommend this book for all. Last but not least, if you are a medical professional and do not know what argyria is, and I sure must have missed that day in med school - buy this book!

    Thomas Dayspring MD, FACP, FNLA

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2009

    Great Story

    The first in the TSI (Time Scene Investigators) series, this book is a nice balance between gripping suspense and scientific reality. The story switches back and forth between 1666 and the present time as the TSI team scrambles desperately to seek a solution to a global pandemic that had it beginnings in the country of Gabon in Africa. The writing is excellent and the plot is believable....all too believable...and I liked the development of the characters involved. If you enjoy international espionage and medical type mysteries, you will enjoy this new series by a couple of great writers.

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  • Posted October 31, 2009

    Timely, real threats, yet hopeful

    I recently finished "TSI: The Gabon Virus" and was intrigued with the combination of history lessons, understandable scientific analyses, intrigue-- and also just enough romance sprinkled in to hold the attention of female readers in the midst of more male-oriented topics.

    The concept of giving one's life for another was paramount, as were other Christian themes like the fruit of the Spirit and the salvation message, but in a non-preachy way. And, of course, there were those dark themes of evil to be counteracted.

    In a time when we see a virus declared an emergency in the real world, this book is particularly telling!

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  • Posted September 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Gabon Virus

    I really enjoyed reading this book. Dr. Larimore has written a number of good books, both educational and narrative, but this is his first time at fiction and I think his transition, along with a talented co-author, was excellent. This book kept me going back as often as I could to keep reading, and I ended up finishing it during the night.

    The overall premise and evolution of the story is a very real reminder of the dangerous world we live in, from the real perils of deadly viruses, as well as out of control and untreatable bacteria to the radical groups populating our planet that have no moral conscience about taking other lives to achieve their evil schemes. As the scientists in the book were able to create a suitable antidote, one can only hope that science will be able to keep up with these dangerous illnesses to keep them in check.

    Along with a refreshing paucity of gratuitous language and sexual content, was a spiritual message that blended well in the narrative without the reader feeling that the Bible or some doctrine was "thumped" over their head.

    Bravo on your first venture into the world of fiction writing.

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  • Posted September 9, 2009

    Possible World Pandemic?

    TSI: The Gabon Virus is well written and easy to read. The book captured my attention on page one and each chapter drew me further into the plotline. Larimore & McCusker hooked me and left me wanting the next TSI novel, before I completed the first book. The Gabon Virus opened my eyes to the possibility of a pandemic virus that could effect the entire world. I am a fan of Larimore's autobiographical and medical works; I hope this is the first of many novels from Larimore.

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  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Adventure and anxiety

    Honestly, I cannot wait for more books of the TSI (Time Scene Investigators) group, this novel was just too neat. Placed in modern day with a few chapters in the 1660's this book was a complete page turner filled with anxiety and adventure. The characters come to life and the technology is real. Never was there a dull moment in the reading of this story.

    A vast array of personalities were brought together in this cast of characters. Real fears and dilemmas were carried to light and worked through. Who would ever picture a present day doctor having anything in common with a 17th century monk?

    In a way parts of the big cooperation are reminiscent to me of the Resident Evil video game, yet there are no zombies in this story. At times I was curious if I were to be overcome by the sorrow in the story, but then there are so many hidden facets of hope through out that as a reader I was carried through. In the end, transformations that needed to take place have occurred and another dawn brightens reminding the reader of all the reasons that God gives us another day.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Dreaded Disease

    I enjoyed reading this timely Christian fiction suspense novel about the race to stop an oncoming pandemic. Based on real events past and present, the authors invent a story that comes close to today's truth about yet another outbreak of the H1N1 form of swine flu. Although science has never been a favorite subject of mine, the authors wrote so that I was able to follow the scientific theories.

    The characters were quite believable. I found myself anxious for Aaron, the teenage boy who inadvertently carries a dreaded disease, infecting all unfortunates who come in contact with him as he tries to escape those pursuing him. An order to stop Aaron's flight by any means--even murder--caused me to resent any interruptions while I read. I call this one a page-turner.

    The Blue Monk will have you questioning whether or not you believe in ghosts.

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  • Posted August 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A 15th Century Blue Monk and a 21st Century Virus

    Interesting premise: take a historical fact ~ the plague in a small town in 1600 England ~ mesh it with a unleashed virus today and see what happens. How do the two relate and what can the remains of an old Blue Monk tell a scientist of today. The story moves at a fairly good pace. The switches between the past and present, and England and Africa move smoothly without any jarring or hesitation. The detail in the scientific, medical, and military sides of the story seem to be plausible. I didn't feel like the authors didn't know what they were talking about. The religious threads were also believable which is difficult in this kind of a story with historical myths and scientific doubt combining to question any research. I read through the story in a day. Although I wouldn't say that it was gripping, it was definitely well written and mostly believable.

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  • Posted June 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The action never stops in this fast-paced thriller

    Under the ice and snow of Greenland lies a top secret research laboratory filled with all the deadly diseases known to man. Something happens in one of the labs allowing the genetically engineered super strain of the Ebola virus escaping into the entire facility forcing the government to blow it up. In the African country Gabon, a cult led by David Mosley is infected with this lethal strain; all of them commit suicide to end the horror except the leader's son Aaron.

    Aaron is a carrier spreading the disease wherever he goes and leaving behind horrific agonizing deaths. A task force mobilizes seeking the carrier while in England they seek a vaccine, but need someone with the disease. Their efforts lead them to the village of Eyam where the Black Death decimated the place in the seventeenth century that isolated itself while the legendary Blue Monk administered to the ill and dying. The scientists feel there are some similarities with today's outbreak and the cases in 1666 so they seek the grave of the Blue Monk who's DNA may provide a cure for the modern day epidemic. Time is running out as the pandemic virus threatens to make humanity virtually extinct.

    The action never stops in this fast-paced thriller that sends a cautionary message without preaching. Mindful of Hoffman's Outbreak, the plot cleverly uses the real tragic history of the Ebola virus that killed several people in Gabon in 2001 and the seventeenth century Black Plague assault on the villagers of Eyam. , Although the lead characters are not fully developed, they bring heart and soul to their desperate search to find the Blue Monk's remains. The TSI team makes the science of disease epidemics especially viruses easy to understand but never dumbed down; that is the core of a super thriller that is timely with the Swine Flu outbreak.

    Harriet Klausner

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