Adam Dewar, a sophisticated, respectable doctor, seems an unlikely protagonist in a murder mystery, but when it involves smallpox, he is just the right person to call. After the British border patrol in Saudi Arabia discovers an infected man near death and an Iraqi doctoral candidate commits suicide in Edinburgh, Dewar connects the two incidents and deduces that the Iraqis are resurrecting the smallpox virus in order to engage in biological warfare. After that, it can only be expected, as in any thriller, that the worst will happen and it does. At times, the story is predictable and anticlimactic. What makes the story interesting, however, is the tension of the smallpox virus, which breaks out in a rowdy, drug-infested neighborhood, and Dewar's own compassion. Although the language could have easily dipped into medical and scientific mumbo-jumbo, layman's terms are primarily used so that anyone can understand the discussions. The smallpox virus may now be extinct, but good stories about it still thrive. Ellie Barta-Moran
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