Tuesday, June 23, 2009

TSI: The Eyam Factor-Paul McCusker & Walt Larimore, M.D.

TSI: The Eyam Factor
Paul McCusker & Walt Larimore, M.D.
Howard, Aug 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9781416569718

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