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The Patron Saint of Plagues Paperback – March 28, 2006
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“A cinematic, futuristic techno-thriller with smarts and heart…This cleverly managed skein of cliffhangers and revelations begs to be filmed.”—San Diego Union-Tribune
“Very neat, impossible to put down, and I hope a book that gets nominated for some awards.”—Philadelphia Weekly Press
“This is Barth Anderson’s debut novel, and it’s a stunner…A book of high verisimilitude and exacting precision. Anderson has taken the monitory example of John Brunner's The Sheep Look Up, a Cassandra mode too long left moldering, and combined it with a typical bio-thriller such as Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain to produce a hybrid that is both scientifically and science-fictionally robust and still propulsively suspenseful."—Sci Fi Weekly, Grade A
“An exciting journey full of surprises.”—Dallas Morning News
“The topic is timely (viruses and pandemics are hot), and the just-around-the-corner world is very well realized, full of smart extrapolations from today's technologies and social conventions.”—Booklist
“Destined to find [a] highly appreciative audience…Anderson successfully joins with Greg Bear, Paul McAuley, and a few others in wedding genuinely SFnal speculation with the template of the formula thriller. There’s a genuinely thoughtful SF mind at work in The Patron Saint of Plagues.”—Locus
“A well-constructed, politically aware techno-thriller with an intriguing plot…when ‘best first novel’ lists get discussed next January this book will be one of the first suggested.”—Emerald City
“Tense, plausible and twisty enough to keep you breathless and guessing.”—Agony Column
“An apocalyptic prophesy masquerading as a near-future pandemic revenge thriller...riveting reading.”—Strange Horizons
“A smart, entertaining, imminently readable book.”—Maureen McHugh, author of Mothers & Other Monsters
“Barth Anderson’s inventive viral emergency may be set in a speculative near future of saints and cyborgs, but it has a persuasive real-world urgency. He nails the gritty essence of disease detection: frustration, exhaustion, obsession.”—Maryn McKenna, author of Beating Back the Devil: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service
"The topic is timely (viruses and pandemics are hot), and the just-around-the-corner world is very well realized, full of smart extrapolations from today's technologies and social conventions."—Booklist
Top Customer Reviews
Too bad that such an intriguing backdrop like this one was ruined by flat characters in a confusing and quite boring mess of a plot from an author pathetically aping Crichton, Ludlum and (of course!) Dan Brown.
I didn't know what to expect when I ordered this book from Amazon last week. It popped up in my recommendations so I decided to give it a whirl and boy am I glad I did. Frankly, I don't even know how to categorize this book. It's set 60 years in the future, so you could try to label it science fiction, and while there are some elements of that, the label doesn't fit perfectly. If you like science fiction you'll like this book, but if you don't like science fiction this probably won't feel like science fiction at all. This is a character and event driven story in which the author does masterful characterization so deftly his efforts seem invisible. Good characterization is one of the more important elements in writing to me; if the characterization is poor or unbelievable it really kills a story for me. Since this could also be labeled a medical thriller I'll use this analogy: the best of all needle pricks is the one you don't feel. Anderson does characterization so well you simply don't feel it. I only noticed halfway through the novel that I hadn't even thought about the characterization.
The novel follows H.D. Stark, an experienced epidemiologist with the CDC, as he investigates an outbreak of Dengue in Mexico City in the 2060's. The world is a strange place politically...America is no longer a superpower, a mosaic virus has decimated our agricultural output and set us back several notches. Kazakhstan, an expanded China, Brazil and Europe have parity with us now.Read more ›
The action was decent and the descriptions of the way the bioengineered plague (masking as the Dengue virus) infected the body were quite interesting.
However, I felt the book was about 100 pages too long. Some portions felt padded for the sake of having a larger book. (Perhaps that requirement was forced on the author by the publisher -- or maybe more culling of excess material was needed during the editing process.)
Books about plagues have been around for ages, but now with bioengineering a true reality (or near future true reality, depending on your viewpoint), these types of plots seem to be more "scientifically" real, hence more believable -- more science, less fiction -- than before.
This book certainly delves alot into the inner workings of antigens, antibodies, immunoglobins (e.g., IgG, IgM, IgA, etc.), cloning, the CDC, and bioengineered diseases.
Being a science fiction work, it includes references to "wetware" (computer/hardware implants to enhance neuroprocessing and/or other bodily functions), and some interesting near future flying technology (i.e., flying motorcycles). A must-have for some types of science fiction nowadays it seems.
For those who like to read near-future science fiction that deals with an interesting plot about the decline of the U.S. and the subsequent rise of our third-world neighbor (Mexico) to the south; and bioengineered warfare; then this is the book for you.
I only wish the editor had cut out about 100 pages of fluff.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would recommend this book to others. I have bought and sent it to many friends and loved ones. JoannPublished on January 25, 2014 by Joann Klein
I really liked this book! The story is riveting, edge-of-my-seat exciting, and the characters are well-fleshed-out. Good, solid science fiction, frightening in its plausibility. Read morePublished on December 26, 2012 by Karsmu
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Review: Set sometime in the future - late 21st century perhaps? The world has changed quite a bit. Read more
i enjoyed this book immensely. barth anderson's books are hard to put down. he has a rare talent for writing page-turners that also meet high literary standards and keep you on... Read morePublished on April 8, 2009 by A. Wicklund
First let me state that I very much enjoyed this book. I loved the basic storyline, and being someone interested in epidemiology, I found the plot to be fascinating. However. Read morePublished on February 18, 2009 by Brenda Pink
Despite what a few reviewers say, this is a very, very entertaining novel. It is set in the near-future, though the world is quite different from ours -- both technologically and... Read morePublished on October 12, 2008 by Amazon Customer
Conceptually, this book had some potential, but the execution is atrocious. The author skips between concepts without explanation, introduces characters with no background and... Read morePublished on March 12, 2008 by Patrick
You have a doctor who can't speak correct English, another doctor who has a God complex, another doctor whom we don't know much about because the author doesn't really bother with... Read morePublished on February 21, 2008 by Alyssa
This page turner sticks with me months after I've read it; the timeliness of the topic and the depth of the characters make it a fascinatingly fun read. Read morePublished on January 13, 2007 by Peter Jacobs