On the surface, the life of young scientist Mei Yin seems perfect. She runs her own research institute in China, she’s getting married, and she founded an orphanage that helps hundreds of girls. But Mei Yin has a dark secret—three vials of “Satan’s gift,” a deadly smallpox virus left over from Russian scientific research conducted during the Cold War. She’s determined to find a vaccine, even if that means endangering those she holds dear.
Zia Baj, a terrorist educated in the West, has also obtained Satan’s gift. But he’s not looking for a cure—instead, he plans to exact revenge and start a war. So he unleashes the virus in an American classroom. At the same time, thousands of miles away, the children of Mei Yin’s orphanage fall ill. Soon authorities realize that this is no ordinary outbreak: it’s the start of an epidemic. How are the two cases linked? And can a worldwide pandemic be stopped?~Goodreads Blurb
Whoa. This world-encompassing biological thriller is one of my favorite books to come out in 2016. Everyone knows that smallpox was eradicated so thoroughly that they don’t even inoculate kids for it these days. We’re more worried about mumps and measles, to even think about a virus that wiped out millions of people in the past seems a waste of time. Author Jinkang Wang uses his latest book to show us why that might not be the right way to go. With an interesting way of combining the idea of nature as a god-like entity and an understanding of science, the story unfolds in a surprising manner. The timeline stretches from just before 9/11 until beyond present times. This gives a rich world-building story that shows the slow game that evolution and adaption take until meddled with by humans.
Jinkang Wang and translator Jeremy Tiang have done an amazing job on Pathological. Its full of twists and turns leaving readers with the moral question of “Just because we can, should we?” There is quite a bit of religion, atheism and science throughout which give all the various viewpoints that can be difficult to fold together. The idea that everything that exists to day has won some sort of genetic and evolutionary lottery is unsettling if only in the need to question one’s own existence. Couple that with the highlighting of the horrible things that humans have done to each other, JInkang Wang has done a brilliant job marrying science and morals to leave the readers wondering in the best way. I think the basic thought this book leaves you with is best put in the author’s own words. “Does the rabbit have the authority to declare the coyote illegal?”
*Received eBook from NetGalley in exchange for honest review*
AmazonCrossing said this about author Wang Jin Kang: A master of science fiction, Wang Jinkang won the World Chinese Science Fiction Association’s Nebula Award for best novel in 1997 and the International Science Fiction Conference’s Milky Way Award in 2010. His books include Ant People, Seven-Layered Shell, Life-Death Balance, Time-Space Shift, Sowing Seeds on Mercury, and Human-Like. Jeremy Tiang has translated more than ten books from Chinese, including novels by Zhang Yueran, Yan Geling, and Chan Ho-kei. He has been awarded an NEA Literary Translation Fellowship and People’s Literature Prize. He also writes and translates plays, and his own short story collection, It Never Rains on National Day, was short-listed for the Singapore Literature Prize.