This thriller details the creation off a chimera virus that can kill one hundred million persons within weeks. A US virologist, Lianne Silverman has contracted with a foreign entity to produce the virus for $100 million. About to make delivery, she first tests it by setting it off in the Baltimore home of her professor and other “enemies.”
After several killings a counteroffensive takes form More
This thriller details the creation and deployment of a chimera virus—a recombinant virus made up of the Influenza of 1918, Ebola-Zaire, and smallpox—which, according to computer simulations by the U. S. government, would kill more than one hundred million persons within six weeks.
A brilliant but evil American virologist, Lianne Silverman Ph. D., working in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D. C., has contracted with a foreign entity of unknown nationality to produce this virus in exchange for a payment of $100 million. She is about to make delivery at an international scientific conference in Geneva, but first she decides to test the efficacy of the virus by setting it off in the Baltimore home of her hated professor, Gabe Benagiano. Also on her hit list is state representative Julie Gordon who defeated Lianne in the recent election.
Following the opening scene in Benagiano’s home, the story shifts to the Annapolis office of Maryland State Senate President, Zack Addison. Addison summons Julie Gordon to his office and into protective custody following an attempt on her life which resulted in the death of four persons. Was this assassination attempt directed just at Julie? Or are other members of the legislature in danger?
While the authorities attempt to determine the motivation of Julie’s would-be assassins—anti-abortionists, the tobacco lobby, a white supremacist hate group—Benagiano is hospitalized with symptoms of a hemorrhagic fever and dies within hours. Recognizing the level of contagion and danger they are faced with, hospital officials notify the governor and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and a state of emergency is declared, but kept from the public at large.
Lianne prepares to leave for Geneva, but before she leaves she injects her husband’s steak tartare with a heavy dose of Ecoli. Once in Geneva, she meets with various characters and arranges to receive the first installment of her payment, $30 million, and deposit it in a Swiss bank. They, however, have attracted the attention of the National Security Agency and are tracking him and recording his conversations. By now, a US Defense Intelligence Agency agent, Air Force Colonel Marc Davila, whom we first meet in Maryland as one of the principals in the inquiry, becomes a protagonist in the story
Back in Maryland, Lianne’s agent has nearly succeeded in killing Julie and Zack Addison who have become lovers. (Their romance is part of the plot in this novel.) Julie, as a result of watching replays of red-haired man walking past her home, has recovered his identity and realizes he is Lianne’s chauffeur. Together, Julie and the others are able to connect the dots between the attempt on her life, Benagiano’s death, and the critical illness of Izzy Silverman. The investigation eventually also discloses that Lianne’s father was mysteriously murdered some years previously.
Authorities lose Lianne in Europe. She returns home for her husband’s funeral, but once again eludes capture. At the novel’s end, the authorities have managed to contain the virus in Baltimore and intercept an attempt to spread it via the air conditioning system in Lake Forest Mall. But Lianne is nowhere to be found, having assumed a new name and disguise, and ultimately headed for parts unknown.
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