Title: The Last Plague
Author: Glen E. Page
First published: 2008
This edition: 2008
ISBN: 9781933538969 / 1933538961
This was another book sent to me by the lovely people at Phenix & Phenix. It was interesting -- kinda a mixed review from me, but definitely interesting. Here's the back cover:
A young girl is brought into Dr. Douglas Hunter's ER one night with her abdomen ripped open. One of her ovaries has been stolen; the other is hard and black as coal. When the bodies of more young girls are discovered, their ovaries also missing, Dr. Hunter and his family of adopted misfits find themselves unwittingly drawn into a dark plot of government intrigue and biblical prophecy.
As Dr. Hunter investigates the cause behind this mysterious plague, he and his family uncover unsettling connections, not only between their own painful pasts, but to war crimes in Nazi Germany and even events fromt he days of Christ. The investigation attracts the attention of a group of ruthless people with mysterious powers who are determined to keep the plague a secret. But as more secrets come to light, Dr. Hunter realizes his family may be facing the last plague, the beginnings of the Apocalypse.
Exciting stuff, yes? Well, here's my take. I'll start with the bad so that I can end with the good: this book has some significant flaws. One is that "Dr. Hunter and his family of adopted misfits," plus miscellaneous villains and supporting characters, make for an exceedingly large cast -- so much so that, even after having finished the novel, I'm still not sure who some characters were and what their relation was to others. Because it's a thriller, a lot of things are revealed only gradually -- which is good -- but that includes characters' names and relationships, and it ends up more befuddling than suspenseful.
The other thing that gave me pause had to do with some of the supernatural/religious themes in the novel. Now, I don't have any problem with religious or supernatural themes -- as long as they're done well. But there were some errors here, and they stood out and make things less believable. One example of this: maybe two-thirds into The Last Plague there's a discussion pertaining to the name "Egyptus." One character mentions his familiarity with the story of Egyptus because she was mentioned by his brother, an ex-Catholic priest. But "Egyptus" is not a character from the Catholic or Christian Bible, but from the Mormon religious text Pearl of Great Price. There's no real reason for the ex-priest to know the Mormon story (much less accept it). So, yeah, the mixing up of religions irked me a fair bit.
Irk. Irk. Irk.
But! Do not despair -- especially not you, Mr. Glen E. Page, MD -- because there is also much in this book that is good and enjoyable. First off, it is a thriller, and it is sufficiently fast-paced to live up to that nomer. The plot is quite intricate and consistently had me wanting more. It's tense and funny and I always love a good conspiracy theory, so it gets another plus for that. There were lots of different points that really made me stop and think -- causing speculation is good! And the scope is epic: according to an interview with the author I read, he's currently working on books four and five in the series. (Which means, as you might guess, that The Last Plague, as first in the series, offers little resolution at its end).
The Last Plague made for good summer reading and I'll be interested in seeing where the series ends.