ju*das strain, n. A scientific term for an organism that drives an entire species to extinction.
"I have not told half of what I saw."
Marco Polo, on his deathbed
The pestilence came first to the town of Kaffa on the Black Sea. There the mighty Mongolian Tartars waged siege upon the Italian Genoese, merchants and traders. Plague struck the Mongol armies with burning boils and bloody expulsions. Struck with great malice, the Mongol lords used their siege catapults to cast their diseased dead over the Genoese walls, and spread plague in a litter of bodies and ruin. In the year of the incarnation of the Son of God 1347, the Genoese fled under sail in twelve galleys back to Italy, to the port of Messina, bringing the Black Death to our shores.
-- DUKE M. GIOVANNI (1356)
trans. by Reinhold Sebastien in Il Apocalypse
(Milan: A. Mondadori, 1924), 34-35
Why the bubonic plague suddenly arose out of China's Gobi desert during the Middle Ages and slew a third of the world's populaton remains unknown. In fact, no one knows why so many plagues and influenzas of the last century -- SARS, the Avian Flu -- have arisen out of Asia. But what is known with fair certainty: the next pandemic will arise again out of the East.
-- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Compendium of Infectious Diseases, May 2006
To Carolyn McCray who read all my earliest scribblings and didn't laugh too much.
ju·das strain, n. A scientific term for an organism that drives an entire species to extinction
New York Times bestselling author James Rollins returns with a terrifying story of an ancient menace reborn to plague the modern world . . . and of an impossible hope that lies hidden in the most shocking place imaginable: within the language of angels.
From the depths of the Indian Ocean, a horrific plague has arisen to devastate humankind--a disease that's unknown, unstoppable . . . and deadly. But it is merely a harbinger of the doom that is to follow. Aboard a cruise liner transformed into a makeshift hospital, Dr. Lisa Cummings and Monk Kokkalis--operatives of SIGMA Force--search for answers to the bizarre affliction. But there are others with far less altruistic intentions. In a savage and sudden coup, terrorists hijack the vessel, turning a mercy ship into a floating bio-weapons lab.
A world away, SIGMA's Commander Gray Pierce thwarts the murderous schemes of a beautiful would-be killer who holds the first clue to the discovery of a possible cure. Pierce joins forces with the woman who wanted him dead, and together they embark upon an astonishing quest following the trail of the most fabled explorer in history: Marco Polo. But time is an enemy as a worldwide pandemic grows rapidly out of control. As a relentless madman dogs their every step, Gray and his unlikely ally are being pulled into an astonishing mystery buried deep in antiquity and in humanity's genetic code. And as the seconds tick closer to doomsday, Gray Pierce will realize he can truly trust no one, for any one of them could be . . . a Judas.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:36 -0400)
A cruise ship becomes a floating bio-weapons lab when terrorists take over and use the plague that afflicts its passengers to create a worldwide pandemic. Sigma Force operatives race against time following the trail of a fabled explorer to crack the code of an astonishing mystery buried deep inantiquity and encoded in humanity's very genes.… (more)