The 1st novel from author of the phenomenal Hot Zone is the ultimate serial killer nightmare. In 1969, in the Pacific, the US embarked on mass trials of some of the most lethal biological weaponry ever invented; genetically engineered viruses that kill in 3 days. One particle of virus is all it takes. The mortality rate is 100%. 1 kilo of agent ...
The 1st novel from author of the phenomenal Hot Zone is the ultimate serial killer nightmare. In 1969, in the Pacific, the US embarked on mass trials of some of the most lethal biological weaponry ever invented; genetically engineered viruses that kill in 3 days. One particle of virus is all it takes. The mortality rate is 100%. 1 kilo of agent could kill the world. The results were so frightening the research was stopped. But just like the viruses it produces technology spreads and sometimes the wrong people get it...In 1998, in New York, a 17 year old High school student wakes up with a cold. 4 hours later she is writhing on the floor of her classroom racked by convulsions, trying to chew off her own fingers. Minutes later she is dead. Across the city the body of a homeless man is bought into hospital; his spine bent in an impossible 'c', he has bitten o ff his own lips, tongue and fingers. How can the 2 incidents be realted? As more people die it's a question that investigator Alice Austen from the centre of disease control needs an answer to fast. No one has heard of this disease before, it's caused by a virus that is just too efficient to be natural. It would take a scientific genius to design such a killer. A genius bordering on madness. A madness born of the belief that there are just too many people in the world. If Alice fails in hr hunt for the killer there will be no one left to kill...
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Publishers Weekly, 1997-10-20 "The nonfiction roots of this book run deep," writes Preston while introducing his much anticipated first novel, a kind of fictional sequel to The Hot Zone. Indeed, where that bestselling report on natural viruses run amok employed fiction techniques to dramatic effect, this exciting tale of bioengineered viruses on the rampage leans on the sort of cool, fact-packed prose usually associated with nonfictionæor with the sort of cautionary science thriller aced by Michael Crichton. Like Crichton, who's an obvious influence, Preston knows how to explode from the gate: his opening, in which a schoolgirl attacked by an unknown virus spasms and bleeds and eats her own lip, will plunge readers into shock. The subsequent story proceeds crisply, focusing on how a female physician at the Centers for Disease Control and assorted FBI agents trace the incident to a madman who aims to decimate our species through explosives laden with the virusænicknamed "Cobra." There's authoritative exposition about viruses and their exploitation by military, political and financial interests, as well as abundant forensic and procedural descriptions, including graphically detailed autopsies. There's a pumped-up finale, too, as feds chase the terrorist through the New York subways. What's missingæand what separates Crichton from Prestonæare vigorous characters and the passions and strong dramatic arc they can embody. Preston's heroes and villains are neatly tagged but only molecule deep; none develop substantially and all exist only to further the plot, which itself seems designed only to further an idea: that bioterrorism is viable, and terrifying. Preston marshals his narrative with sufficient precision to persuade and terrify readers (who will be legion)æbut more from the horror of a grotesque diorama come to life than from the moral terror that more accomplished storytelling can engender. 300,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; film rights to Fox2000. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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