Friday, July 4, 2008

Cold Plague

Cold Plague by Daniel Kalla was originally published in 2008. My hardcover copy has 335 pages. I enjoyed Cold Plague immensely and appreciated Kalla's inclusion of an author's note right at the beginning explaining the science behind Cold Plague. Although the conclusion didn't contain any surprising twist, I am looking forward to finding a copy of Kalla's previous book with Dr. Noah Haldane, Pandemic. Cold Plague will be a natural choice for Crichton fans with it's medical/science fiction theme. And, really, is anything better than a relaxing carefree summer weekend spent reading various forms of plague books? I think not. Rating: 4

Synopsis from cover:
Pristine water—hidden for millions of years, untouched by pollution, and possessing natural healing powers—is found miles under Antarctic ice. The scientists who make this astonishing discovery stand to win worldwide acclaim and earn billions. While people around the world line up for a taste of the therapeutic water, a cluster of new cases of mad cow disease explodes in a rural French province. and his World Health Organization team are urgently summoned.

Fresh from a brush with a pandemic flu, Noah recognizes the deadliness of a prion—the enigmatic microscopic protein responsible for mad cow disease—that kills with the speed and ferocity of a virus. Despite intense international pressure to declare the outbreak a random occurrence, Noah suspects that factors other than nature have ignited the prion's spread among animals and people in France. Facing a spate of disappearances and unexplained deaths, Noah uncovers a conspiracy that stretches from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Beverly Hills, and from the North to the South Pole. He soon realizes that the scientific find of the century—a lake the size of Lake Superior buried three miles under Antarctica—might hold the key to a microscopic Jurassic Park.

With a billion-dollar industry hanging on his silence, Noah has to stay alive long enough to sound the alarm.

" Imagine a lake the size of Lake Michigan buried three miles below Antarctic ice at the very coldest spot on earth!" author's note, pg. 1

"Prions are infectious agents, rogue proteins that lack DNA, which defines life. But these microscopic assassins excel at destroying life." author's note, pg. 1

"Despite ice that ran miles deep below his feet, he was tramping through one of the driest spots on earth. A desert. Even in the height of the austral summer, under a sun that never set, it was usually too cold to snow." pg. 13

" 'The water it wills the way...,' Philippe began to say, but his words sputtered into a garble of nonsensical French.' " pg. 19

"And the most bizarre part is that unlike other infections - bacterial, parasitical, and even viral - prions are not alive by any definition. They are simply rogue proteins that somehow sabotage normal functioning brain cells." pg. 27

"The water, it worms its way into your mind. It gets into your soul. They possess me already. They will come for you!" pg. 41

"Everyone touched by this prion seemed to face nothing but misery." pg. 123

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