In the Book of Revelations, the Four Horsemen herald the arrival of the Apocalypse. When the First Horseman thunders forth, pestilence will spread throughout the land. For the First Horseman is Plague . . . The Spanish Flu killed thirty million people worldwide in 1918. Now with history threatening to repeat itself, a scientific expedition speeds toward a remote island in the Arctic Sea to recover strains of the lethal virus preserved under layers of ice. For Washington Post reporter Frank Daly, it is the story of a lifetime. But his plan to join the expedition is ruined by a ferocious storm that delays him. And when he meets up with the ship upon its return to port in Norway, it is clear something has gone wrong. Fear haunts the faces of the crew. No one will talk. And someone wants Daly to stop asking questions.
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The fictional bioterror of Richard Preston's The Cobra Event was scary enough, but The First Horseman is based on the real Spanish flu, a hideous virus that killed over 20 million people in 1918. From the opening pages, this second novel by investigative reporter John Case (author of The Genesis Code) thrusts readers into the thick of a rapid-fire plot. In New York, a man and a woman are murdered at their home by a cult whose motivations remain mysterious. Immediately, the action shifts to Tasi-ko, North Korea, where a medical worker flees to the mountains to escape a disease that has decimated his village. While he looks on from his hiding spot, North Korean soldiers pour into Tasi-ko and incinerate it and all of its suffering inhabitants. The CIA investigates the events at Tasi-ko, and realizing that the disease could well be a hybrid Spanish flu being tested as a biological weapon, recruits a team of American scientists to uncover the only known sample of the 1918 pandemic--which is frozen into the bodies of miners buried in the Arctic. From there the novel traces scientists Anne Adair and Benton Kicklighter on their expedition to the frozen town of Kopervik to uncover the miners' corpses. Not knowing that the CIA is behind Adair and Kicklighter's work, Washington Post reporter Frank Daly follows their story. When the scientists return empty-handed, though, he begins to suspect that a medical curiosity is on the verge of becoming a global catastrophe.
The strength of the novel is the eerie suspense that Case sustains by revealing only enough about the Korean plot and the Temple of Light cult to keep the reader fully engaged and wanting more. While Case doesn't spend much time delving into the lives and motivations of his characters, the Spanish flu is the real star. Case propels the novel with the constant reminder that a new plague is on the verge of exploding, and his several enigmatic subplots keep you turning the pages and praying that this is only fiction. --Patrick O'KelleyFrom the Author:
I'm often asked by readers about the research that goes into books such as The Genesis Code and The First Horseman. The research is, of course, a prodigious task that involves a lot of reading and interviewing, as well as the occasional trip to exotic locales (like Baltimore), where conferences are held on such arcane subjects as the Solar Phallus Man and the existence of a substance called "red mercury." For the most part, though, the research is fun because one writes about the things that interest one. And the people you meet--the "experts"--are often quite terrific.
Occasionally, though, the research is disturbing--as worrisome as it is interesting. Such was the case with The First Horseman, whose plot turns upon the ease with which America might be devastated by a person or group with access to biological weapons--and a deep grudge. When I began the research, I knew the possibility was scary, but I thought it was also quite remote.
As I soon found out, however, the possibility is anything but remote. Biological weapons are dirt-cheap, easy to acquire, and completely destructive--nature's very own neutron-bomb. With $2000 and two years of science classes, a highly-functioning madman could probably take a big chunk out of the Big Apple. And there isn't a city in the U.S. that's prepared to cope with the threat--neither New York nor Washington, Pittsburgh or Peoria. In fact, a chemical or biological attack on a single
high-rise--just one building--would paralyze New York's hospitals and health care system, and do so almost immediately. A broader attack--by crop duster or pleasure-boat on the Hudson--is....well, that's why I wrote The First Horseman.
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Book Description Brilliance Audio. Book Condition: Very Good. . Audio CD. Case Very Good. Abridged edition. Quality guaranteed! In original artwork/packaging unless otherwise noted. Bookseller Inventory # C02C-01194
Book Description Brilliance Audio, 2002. AudioCD. Book Condition: Good. 3 AUDIO CDs polished for your satisfaction. Some shelf wear to the box. Enjoy this RELIABLE AUDIO CD performance. Audio Book. Bookseller Inventory # 07252016140296