Friday, December 11, 2009

Plague War by Jeff Carlson

Plague War, a mix of sci-fi, military adventure and political intrigue, is the second book in Jeff Carlson's post apocalyptic trilogy. The nightmarish landscape presents a chilling albeit believable picture of a world devastated by a nanotech plague. The book works as a standalone but to get the complete story of how our world got so screwed up you might want to start with Plague Year.
Nanotechnology designed to fight cancer is accidentally released and has killed most of the world's population. The nano-plague, something like a flesh eating virus, freezes at elevations above 10,000 feet so the surviving population flees to the mountains.

Dr. Ruth Goldman, a researcher, has produced a vaccine that will inoculate the survivors against the plague but the government won't release it because it doesn't benefit their own agenda. The U.S. government wants to use the vaccine as a tool to decide who will live. So Ruth is on the run, searching for survivors and hoping to inoculate as many as possible. Traveling with her is Cameron Najarro, a survivor from Sierra Nevada. But the government has their own plans for the vaccine and they'll stop at nothing to get to Ruth. Not surprisingly there is also a group of rebels who are interested in finding Ruth. But another catastrophic event is coming; one that may cause a war that will change things forever.

This riveting and original tale paints a bleak picture of technology gone awry. There's plenty of action but this is essentially a character driven survival story. Carlson depicts the desperation of his heroes with great clarity. And the sexual tension between Ruth and Cam only adds to their despair. It's terrifyingly real and comes to a conclusion you won't see coming. A third book, Mind Plague, is out this month.

Publisher: Ace (July 2008)
ISBN: 978-0-441-01617-4
Pages: 321
Price: $7.99