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The Devil's Cure : A Novel Hardcover – June 13, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Oppel (Silverwing), a prolific author of popular books for children and young adults, shows versatility and imaginative brio as he delves into adult fiction for the first time, composing a thriller about a prison escapee whose blood may contain the key to curing cancer. That man is David Haines, a death row inmate convicted of killing several doctors because their research conflicted with his extreme religious beliefs. Haines escapes from a maximum-security prison in Illinois during a visit from Dr. Laura Donaldson, who wants to test his blood because it has shown cancer-fighting properties. Haines, however, considers his blood sacred, and once he breaks free after shooting several guards and hijacking a truck, he begins killing his family members to further foil Donaldson's research. The manhunt is led by FBI agent Kevin Sheldrake, who caught Haines four years earlier. Sheldrake is a complicated character, a man whose religious beliefs (he was in a cult as a young man) have stymied his career advancement yet those same qualities make him the best man to track Haines, whose past also includes a stint in a cult. With Donaldson in tow, Sheldrake follows Haines to the Seattle area, where the escapee intends to find and kill his only son. Several scenes severely test credibility, yet the action moves with undeniable force. While Donaldson and Sheldrake both suffer from a touch too much angst, the story's three main characters come across as strong and clearly defined. Oppel has done his research into both cults and cancer; his presentation of both elements sufficiently detailed but never belabored helps camouflage some of the plot's more glaring holes.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This work marks a first foray into adult fiction by Oppel, author of numerous books for young readers. He has written a story that would make a fine TV movie. It's got a doctor, Laura Donaldson, whose dream of discovering a cure for cancer goes awry just as her sister is diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. On the rebound, she becomes convinced that she has found a clue to the cure in the blood of a serial killer (of doctors, ironically) who escapes from prison. Donaldson, who has a bit of a drug problem, is joined in her quest for the killer by FBI agent Kevin Sheldrake, who also has his share of issues, including prior membership in a religious cult. Although this medical thriller doesn't break new ground and its medical premise is questionable, it is engaging and nicely paced. Donaldson and Sheldrake are also very likable. A nice beach read; for public libraries. Linda M.G. Katz, MCP Hahnemann Univ., Philadelphia
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; 1st edition (June 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786866977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786866977
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,576,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When a promising effort to find a treatment for an incurable form of cancer fails at the last moment, Laura Donaldson, leader of the medical research team is unexpectedly handed one last ray of hope. She is called in to examine an unusual blood sample which seems to be able to efficiently destroy any trace of cancerous tissue. There is a catch, however, the sample was taken forcibly from David Haines, an imprisoned serial killer. Haines' preferred victims were doctors and medical researchers like Donaldson, who violated his cult-based religious convictions. To Haines, blood was sacred; not to be defiled by the evil hands of those who would stay the Lord's judgement. Laura will need a court order to force the samples she needs from David Haines.
Kevin Sheldrake is the FBI man who brought in David Haines. It was an exhausting three year struggle that left Kevin and emotional wreck, and destroyed his marriage. Kevin specializes in religious cult crimes; having once been indoctrinated in a religious cult himself. The experience has left him questing for a God that seems to perpetually elude him. A recent medical killing alerts Kevin, and his investigation reveals that, even though Haines is imprisoned, he has manages to attract one or more followers who will carry out his commands. Kevin moves to meet the threat, but too late, now he, Dr. Donaldson, and David Haines are on a collision course.
When Laura manages to get the court order she speeds of to Joliet prison with a fully equipped medical field van. But she is ill prepared for treachery. Haines knows of her approach and, with the help of a guard who has succumbed to his personal magnetism manages a bloody escape.
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Laura Donaldson has a driving need to find a cure for cancer. She thinks she has found it - but her cure turns out to be worse than the disease. Then she discovers that the blood of a man called Daivd Haines carries the cure - the only problem is that Haines is a religious nut on death row for killing doctors just like Laura. When Laura tries to take samples of Haines blood he escapes from prison - sparking a manhunt. That hunt brings Kevin Sheldrake - the FBI agent who captured Haines - too close to his own past.
I got this book for my mum to read, but after she raved about it I decided to read it for myself - and I do not regret that decision. This is probably the best book I read all year. I am not usually one to read thrillers, but this book had me glued to the sofa until I had finished it. Oppel has an incredible way with words and character development. I felt like I was inside the characters heads throughout the whole novel. Oppel has also created a science fiction that could almost be science fact.
This book builds you up and then carries you down towards a finale that leves you gasping for breath. If you want a mystery and adventure tied into one then you have got to read this.
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Format: Hardcover
Three individuals are about to begin a terrifying journey that will either lead to a miraculous discovery, or an unspeakable crime no one is expecting.
Dr. Laura Donaldson has devoted her life to finding a cure for cancer.
David Haines is the religious cult leader spending his last days on death row.
Kevin Sheldrake is the FBI agent who caught Haines and put him on death row.
A routine blood test of Haines reveals he has cancer, and surprisingly his body is healing itself by the destroying the disease. This discovery sends shock waves through the medical community, and Laura feels with more of this man's blood she can perfect her serum to cure cancer.
Haines, an absolute psycho, thinking his blood is holy, refuses to give anymore, eventually leading to a court order demanding the inmate give up his blood - for the good it could do to those suffering the horrible disease.
After first being upset by the court's decision, Haines realizes this is his opportunity to fulfill the shocking plan he has been working on for years. During the procedure of blood withdrawl he will make his escape, and embark on his mission from god.
With every law enforcement agency looking to kill Haines, it's up to Laura and Sheldrake to catch the madman and bring him in alive, for in his veins lies the cure the world is looking for.
'The Devil's Cure' is a superb novel. Blasting off on page one it hurtles you through the world of cutting edge medical science with believable characters, page-turning suspense, non-stop action, and a heart stopping climax.
Kenneth Oppel has written a winner! A novel so full of energy, no reader will be able to put it down, and deservedly so. Putting a new spin on the medical thriller 'The Devil's Cure' has bestseller written all over it, and should be a major choice among the beach book set.
A MUST read!
Nick Gonnella
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Format: Hardcover
Psychotic killer David Haines is on death row, awaiting execution, when cancer researcher Laura Donaldson (whose own daughter has cancer) sees a video of a blood sample taken from Haines only days before his execution. To her amazement his T-cells are fighting and destroying cancer cells. Haines may be carrying the cure for cancer in his blood. But he doesn''t care and he''s not interested in giving any of the precious stuff away. He thinks it''s ungodly. Besides, he hates doctors and has tried to kill as many of them as he could before his capture.

This is a five star book full of thrills and chills you won''t want to put down.
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