Elixir by Ted Galdi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for this review.
The timing of this book is eerie. There are news reports every day of the outbreak of the Ebola virus in western Africa, with a death toll over 900. There was also the report of 2 American missionaries being flown home to the CDC in Atlanta for treatment for the Ebola virus. That's what makes this book timely, although it's just a coincidence.
As the novel begins, Sean Malone is an 11-year-old prodigy, winning over $1 million on Jeopardy! Just 3 years later, he is in college, where he solves a previously unsolvable problem. This gets the attention of the NSA, which uses his solution to hunt down drug lords. He is forced to fake his own death and move to Italy, where he meets Natasha when he turns 18, a woman looking for some adventure. She goes with her family on a trip to Africa. When she comes back, she becomes sick,rom and is placed in the hospital, suffering from the effects of the Ebola virus. Sean tries to develop a drug that will heal her. I can't give away any more without revealing spoilers.
As I said earlier, this book has the benefit of timing. It reminds me of the release of the movie The China Syndrome in 1979, just a few days before the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant. It was hard to read this novel without thinking of current events. That said, it was an engaging novel. The first few chapters jump ahead, skipping ahead a few years at a time. Once the action gets to Germany, however, the time frame settles down. It becomes a race against time to get the elixir finished in time, and get it injected into her before she dies. The action is well-paced. I won't give too much away, except to say that you never know quite what's coming next. It made me wish there really was an elixir that would cure Ebola. All in all, a good book.
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