Review

Midnight Plague

by Gregg Keizer



Set in the days leading up to D-Day comes this historical thriller
with a medical twist. Frank Brink, an American doctor, embarks on a
mission to find a German lab that is rumored to be producing what
the Allies fear is a horrific biological weapon. Their tipoff came
from a French fishing boat found on a British coast, its hold
filled with dead Jews --- and one surviving Frenchwoman named Alix
Pilon.

The English are very edgy, partly because it was their original
idea to spray anthrax spores on the continent to infect their
enemies. But Brink's German counterpart, Dr. Wollenstein, has been
infecting the Jews with pneumonic plague, a deadly disease that
leaves no one alive, in order to experiment with the effectiveness
of his antidote. If Wollenstein can successfully create a vaccine
to cure the plague, he will have no hesitation about dropping
clouds of the Pasteurella pestis on the English and American
soldiers coming ashore --- at the very least. He believes he can
simply vaccinate his own German troops and wipe out everyone else.
But it is a very ugly way to die, and his antidote must first be
proven. Thus, he leaves behind himself a string of bodies blackened
by the plague.

Brink was working on his own serum for the Pasteurella
pestis
, but the impending threat of a possible biological
attack on England sends him scurrying for the source lab the
Germans have set up in France. Alix finds herself the American's
unlikely ally. It was her father's fishing boat that held the
unfortunate victims discovered aboard. For some reason, she blames
herself and offers her help in tracking down the "devil" whose work
is devising this nasty killer, in order to avenge her father's
death. Alix and Brink work together while the clock counts down to
June 6, 1944, and the body count mounts up.

But roaming the French countryside in search of the pestis
proves far more dangerous than Brink had feared. Rounding a curve
can bring them face to face with a contingent of hostile Germans.
Even though Brink speaks German, as well as French, his accent
draws instant suspicion. And when he and Alix aren't being troubled
by enemy soldiers along the way, they are by turns avoiding the
sick and attempting to minister to their needs. Either threat could
bring them the promise of great suffering and ultimate, if not
instant, death.

Stale from a steady diet of lab work, Brink worries that he no
longer can save lives. And the problem is further complicated by
the fact that many of the wounded they encounter are enemy
personnel. His is a personal journey to reaffirm his worth, as they
race against time to save the world from a cataclysmic devastation
beyond imagination.

Despite a distracting profusion of characters, the subject, with
good solid writing behind it, will make MIDNIGHT PLAGUE a popular
read for historical thriller fans. And the medical angle will draw
in even more readers.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 7, 2011

Midnight Plague
by Gregg Keizer

  • Publication Date: August 18, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0399153195
  • ISBN-13: 9780399153198