The Seneca Scourge starts out with following Mr. Lamb, who you could call "patient zero". He is the start of everything that is to follow. He has huge coughing attacks, sneezing, fever... All the symptoms you might have with a severe, but common cold. He was in Nairobi studying geology and was returning home. Then flash forward a couple of days to Sydney McKnight, who is studying Mr. Lamb's condition in the ICU. They have never seen anything like the disease that they saw in Mr. Lamb. They have never seen such quick deterioration, such destruction of the lungs (but only the lungs). They are utterly confused on what to do. When he dies, they test his lungs with a suspicion it is Influenza, type C. It must be some sort of strange mutation, right?
Meanwhile, her boss, Casper Jones, has been acting very strangely and secretively. Sydney, however, is so tired and stressed she barely notices, for the time being. For very good reason. Just 2 weeks after Thomas Lamb contracted the illness, thousands more become infected. Starting with the nurse that cared for him and his wife. It goes to students at the school his wife teaches at and spreads and spreads and spreads. The hospitals don't have enough room or medicine to take care of them all. People die in 5-8 days of contracting the illness. The author compares this epidemic to the 1918 influenza epidemic. In 1918, the death rate was about 2.5%. This Influenza type C has a 75% death rate. It's staggering. Hospitals are overworked, working 16 hour shifts. Sydney is so tired, and to make it even worse, both of her best friends have contracted what is now known as the "Seneca Scourge".
However, Casper is acting stranger and stranger. Seeming to try to break rules, hide samples, and mess around with things that just don't make sense to her. She doesn't make to big of a fuss as she is busy trying to care for patients, but her mind is occupied with her suspicions. That all changes when she finds him injecting something into one of her patients. Just a bit prior she found out that Casper is not who he said he was. Her suspicions aroused, she demands him to tell her what is going on, but he refuses and backs out. Sydney is not one to take no for an answer, so she breaks into his apartment and finds the most startling things. Tiny electron microscopes, DNA unravelers, and most shocking of all, insulin in pill form! She is astounded, just as Casper returns him. She demands an answer, and Casper finally relents. What is his secret? Can Sydney (or anyone) save millions and millions of dying? Who is Casper and what is he doing here? Read and find out!
I love, love, love, LOVED this book. I thought the way the author wrote this was quality work and very well done. There were however, some faults I found (let's get this out of the way). Firstly, on the second page of the first chapter (and in other places throughout the book), there seems to be a lot of dialogue, but not so much action; either by the characters or what is happening in general. I'd like for the characters to be doing something, even if it's an annoying tic like tapping their pen, or something like that. It felt... too "talky" if you will, for me. There were some minor spelling and grammar errors. In the kindle location 1383 (not sure which page), there is a typo where it says "pasties", but I assume it should say "panties". Although wearing panties and a thong is redundant. Perhaps a bikini/bra? I digress. I also though that there was a strange and extremely fast paced attraction Mitch (one of Sydney's collegues and apparent boyfriend) had to Sydney. They were "dating" for no more than a couple of weeks and Mitch is already climbing all over her wanting what I can only assume to be is sex. This however, seems much too fast paced. Although I liked the scene and how it showed Sydney's character, perhaps the author should have elongated the time that they have been going out or stretch it out more throughout the book. However, these problems were quite minor to the incredible writing overall the author did.
I thought what the author did right is almost everything. Firstly, the building of Sydney's characters as a bit introverted and suspicious kept building throughout the story as flashbacks to her past and her thinking of her past and how that affects her in the present. It's also very apparently in the way she talks and acts. I also loved the way the author built up the tension and suspicion Sydney had towards Casper by just the way Casper acted. The more you read, the more and more suspicious things Casper started to do and you really thought of him as the bad guy. It was really awesome. Also, I appreciate the language used, even though it was challenging in many places. It required me to look them up (thank you built in dictionary in Kindle) and really think about it, which is awesome. It's very rare for me to look up words because author's don't normally choose words wisely. It wasn't just medical terms that I had to search up, but adjectives and adverbs too. The plot and action was great too. The epidemic itself reminded me of games like Plague Inc or movies like Contagion. But the characters and plot within the story made it so much more. The twist at the end is also masterfully done and I definitely did not see that coming. I could go on and on and on about how well this book was written, but I think you guys get the gist. I highly recommend this book. I would give it 4 out of 4 stars for the aforementioned reasons. It was just well written, well thought out, well planned, and just a great book altogether. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a fast paced, page turner who isn't scared of a bit of medical terms and lots of scientific thought!
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