Covenant Communications, 2016
Deep in the jungles of Venezuela, mycologist Dr. Julia Fatheringham is engrossed in her study of native fungi. But what begins as a standard research trip quickly spirals in chaos when her associate’s erratic behavior results in his horrifying death. Soon, Julia makes a startling discovery: her partner was contaminated by an organism found only in insects. It alters the victim’s mind in alarming ways, with an invariably deadly outcome. Julia is baffled by her discovery–this organism has never appeared in humans. It shouldn’t be possible. There is only one terrifying conclusion: the infection has jumped species.
Now, in this remote corner of the world, a contagion of unparalleled horror rests in Julia’s hands. But even as she works to contain the organism that could spell devastation of apocalyptic proportions, there are others with a different agenda. They’ve learned of her discovery and will go to any lengths to acquire a sample–there is good money to be had in eco-terrorism.
Armed only with her strength of mind and what courage she can gather, Julia prepares to battle the devastating scourge–and the terrorists determined to unleash it upon humanity.
If medical suspense novels are your thing, Gregg Luke does a great job giving you the willies 🙂 I will never look at a mushroom the same again. —Literary Time Out blog spot book review.
Oh my goodness! I love the way Gregg Luke’s books take you not only to a new country, but they feel as though they put you in danger as you’re reading them. This book did that for me! —My Book A Day Blog Tour review.
I was completely blown away by how intricate this story is! The web of relationships and interactions had my mind boggled, yet it all came together in the most interesting and creepy way possible. I’ve read most of Gregg Luke’s other books and I have to say, this is one of his best! —Katie’s Clean Book Collection.
Don’t even start reading this novel without a large chunk of time because it’s almost impossible to put down. In addition to believable characters, Luke creates a story that is all too plausible in this modern age of causes and indifference. This novel captures the reader with the first sentence, keeps the tension high throughout, and delivers a resounding conclusion. —Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine.
The idea for this novel cam from a segment in the BBC series Planet Earth. When discussing tropical rainforests, David Attenborough shows how a cordyceps fungus infects the minds of ants, making them do things beyond their control to promote the spread of the fungus, ostensibly turning them into zombies. Rather than merely being fascinated, my mind immediately thought: what if the fungus jumped species? What if it could infect man? And, lo, the novel was born.
This one was incredibly fun to research. I listed a few very good websites to visit at the back of the book, in case the reader would like to learn more. I even included the YouTube link in case you’d like to watch the clip that got this creepy story started. I also got to know the geography and climate of Venezuela very well. My one regret is not being able to somehow incorporate Angel Falls (the world’s tallest waterfall) into the story. But, as with all good research, there are many subtleties that a writer misses because of lack of first-hand knowledge. Lucky for me, my next door neighbor, Phillip Hellewell, served an LDS mission in Venezuela for two years. He was able to correct many of those subtleties, including many nuances in Venezuelan Spanish. Thank you, Phillip!
As a word of caution, this story is not for the faint of heart. It contains a couple scenes of corpses with fungi growing from them. I tried not to get too graphic, but I wanted to show what a cordyceps infecting a human might possibly look like. My apologies to those of you with weak stomachs.