Year Zero by Jeff Long is great for what it is, which is, in part, archeological fiction, an action/adventure story, medical research science fiction, and an apocalyptic novel.... all rolled into one plot. I enjoyed it very much and stayed up way too late finishing it. It was first published in 2002 and the paperback is 498 pages long.
Year Zero begins by introducing several different, separate events and characters who all merge later in the plot. In the beginning, American anthropologist Nathan Lee Swift has been conned by his professor and brother-in-law, Dr David Ochs, into plundering bones from an old Roman burial ground on Golgotha, dating from year zero, after an earthquake has devastated the area. Four years later a Greek collector of religious relics sends off biological samples from one of his relics to several different labs across the world, unwittingly releasing a devastating plague. Miranda Abbott is a young genius biologist who is discovering breakthroughs for the science of cloning. Her powerfully connected father has her sent off to a new research facility in Los Alamos near the same time the samples have been sent to the labs. Meanwhile, during this same time period, Nathan Lee is left for dead by Ochs in Tibet where they were on another expedition to steal archeological remains. Nathan Lee ends up in a Tibetan prison when the plague breaks out. He eventually makes his way back to the USA and to Los Alamos, where the cloning of humans from the first century has begun in hopes of finding a cure for the plague that is wiping out the world.
Long's Year Zero has me teetering on the brink of another action/adventure book marathon. It is that good.