Plague time in future-land, with all but a few on earth succumbing to Australian flu--a new flu for which there is no vaccine, no immunity, and nothing less than a 100% mortality rate. Epidemiologist Mike Canning chases the Ringway Virus (named for the flu-ridden London doctor who barricaded himself in his house to die uninfectiously) backwards from London to New York to California to Australia, tracing the infection to wee Barby Lambert, who was vacationing in Wallanulla when she caught the bug--a mutant strain probably caused by evil insecticides. While Michael plans for survival with Aussie pals and a new love (his steady girl's a London casualty), a subplot flourishes in the jungles of New Guinea, where Elizabeth Reece--wife of the medical celebrity who first understood the flu threat-and American Steve are the sole survivors of a plane crash, ironically unaware of the global disaster as they gutsily stay alive and move in with a pygmy tribe. A parable of survival? Perhaps. A bloody bore? Except for the too-brief jungle sequences--definitely--and especially so when the epidemic becomes an excuse for preachings on all of Modern Man's sins: ""We exhausted our resources. . . we distorted our knowledge. . . in virtually wiping out man Ringway's disease removed him before he had quite destroyed the planet."" Weak book, worse pulpit.