The Cobra Event is set in motion one spring morning in New York City, when a seventeen-year-old student wakes up feeling vaguely ill. Hours later she is having violent seizures, blood is pouring out of her nose, and she has begun a hideous process of self-cannibalization. Soon, other gruesome deaths of a similar nature have been discovered, and the Centers for Disease Control sends a forensic pathologist to investigate. What she finds precipitates a federal crisis.
The details of this story are fictional, but they are based on a scrupulously thorough inquiry into the history of biological weapons and their use by civilian and military terrorists. Richard Preston's sources include members of the FBI and the United States military, public health officials, intelligence officers in foreign governments, and scientists who have been involved in the testing of strategic bioweapons. The accounts of what they have seen and what they expect to happen are chilling.
The Cobra Event is a dramatic, heart-stopping account of a very real threat, told with the skill and authority that made Preston's The Hot Zone an internationally acclaimed bestseller.
In New York City in the late '90s, a 17-year-old girl heads off to her private school even though she has a cold. By art class her nose is gushing mucus and she's severely disoriented. Within seconds, it seems, she's in convulsions and, most bizarrely, can't stop biting herself. All the reader can do is hope she'll die quickly, but Kate Moran's body still has a few more disgusting turns to undergo, and Richard Preston--a Jacobean master of ceremonies par excellence--takes us through them in bizarre and bloody detail.
Clearly, whatever Kate had was a head cold with a scientific vengeance. Preston's heroine, Alice Austen, a doctor with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, realizes--in the first of several gripping autopsy scenes--that the girl's nervous system had been virtually destroyed. So far, only one other person is known to have died in the same way, but he was a homeless man. Austen must connect the two cases, seemingly linked only by the subway, before the media gets hold of them and drums up a paranoia-fest--and before the virus's creator can kill again.
The Cobra Event is itself a paranoia-fest, a provocative thriller that makes you wonder exactly how much bioterrorism is taking place in the real world. Preston, best known for his terrifying chronicle of the Ebola virus, The Hot Zone, and other impeccably researched nonfictions, is not content to create fast-paced nightmarish scenes. His novel is instead a complex morality tale anchored in uncomfortable fact. Preston is keen to convey the "invisible history" of bioweapons engineering and, equally, to show the unsung heroism of his scientific detectives (along with that of the nurses and technicians who literally sacrifice their lives for medicine). Like their creator, these characters are not without a sense of humor. One calls the manmade virus "the ultimate head cold." Readers will never forget literally dozens of scenes and will never again see the subway, rodents, autopsy knives, and--above all--runny noses in the same light.From the Publisher:
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Review by Mike Sussman, Marietta, GA
The Cobra Event is the first novel by Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone. An outbreak of a new deadly disease is taking place in New York City. The disease starts out like a cold, but its victims turn to self-mutilation and suffer a horrible death. Although the victims appear
to have nothing in common, the C.D.C sends pathologist Alice Austen to investigate, and with the assistance of a secret government medical team, she determines that the epidemic is caused by biological
terrorism. Now the team must find the culprit before the disease reaches national proportions.
Preston's follow-up to The Hot Zone is a fascinating and terrifying medical thriller. While the story is fiction, The Cobra Event is based on facts, and the scary aspect is that the events in the novel are quite feasible. Preston writes with an air of authenticity and presents us with extraordinary possibilities. His strength lies with science over characters, but this is overcome by a strong, intriguing story. The Cobra Event is a must read for all fans of medical thrillers.
The audio version is 4 tapes, abridged, published by Random House, and enthusiastically read by Blair Underwood. His performance is very entertaining, he has no difficulty with the medical terminology, and
Underwood's only flaw is reading too quickly when exciting scenes occur. However, this can be overlooked as his pacing helps maintain the suspense. Although the audio is abridged, many of the gruesome descriptions of the disease are included, but I couldn't help but wonder if the text was even more graphic. Still, listeners will be glued to their cassette players.
Descrizione libro Random House Value Publishing, 1998. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 517289717