People are afraid of the doctor. Robin Cook, a physician himself, knows this well and has exploited it handsomely in five of his six novels. This, the seventh, is no exception.
The story line is standard Cook: medical disaster, shapes of conspiracy, good doctor battles hordes of evil doctors, happy ending.
To wit: A viral plague so nasty it makes AIDS look like sniffles, has traveled from its origins in Africa to the United States, where it asserts itself rudely in slick, for-profit hospitals and clinics operated by aggressively marketed pre-paid health-maintenance organizations. The initial victims are doctors who've been mugged, usually ophthalmologists--practitioners of a specialty not usually associated with chills and thrills scenario. (Cook, himself, is an ophthalmologist. Psychological interpretations will be studiously avoided in this review.)
The afflicted eye doctors infect their patients, their co-workers, their mistresses and spouses. All victims die rapidly and horribly, and news of the plague reaches the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Marissa Blumenthal, a young, sweet, idealistic pediatrician working at the CDC is assigned the responsibility of investigating the scourge and gradually becomes convinced that a Machiavellian scheme is afoot. To reveal more is to give away whatever plot is contained in the pages of this rather tame thriller.