What begins as another intimate if grisly case for solicitor Helena Flemming and retired pathologist Dr. John Eisenmenger erupts into global-plague territory.
When postdoctoral student Millicent Sweet caught the flu, her physician advised her to stay home and take paracetamol until the fever broke. Instead Millicent died horribly and inexplicably. As Dr. Mark Hartmann’s postmortem exam indicates, her body was overrun by at least a dozen lethally cancerous infections in all her major organs. Her father, outraged by the way a healthy young woman could die so suddenly and her body be cremated as the result of a spurious mix-up, asks Helena to investigate. With the help of damaged Eisenmenger, still reeling from his involvement in their first gruesome collaboration (A Feast of Carrion, 2003), Helena learns that the official finding of death by lymphoma was faked and that Millicent’s death may be only the beginning of a horrifying plague that’s overtaking the researchers who worked with her at an isolated experimental station that Pel-Ebstein Pharmaceuticals ran on a Scottish island until it was destroyed by fire. What are the implications of the mysterious Proteus project for its survivors, for Helena’s relationship with Eisenmenger, for Inspector Beverley Wharton’s inquiries, and for the world as we know it?
Chilling and challenging, though the pat conspiracy behind Proteus keeps this sequel from rising to the demanding level of Helena and Eisenmenger’s grimly brilliant debut.