12.21 by Dustin Thomason


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Thomason (The Rule of Four, 2004) delivers a fast-moving tale that weaves ancient Mayan predictions of the end of the world with modern science.

Gabe Stanton lost his wife, Nina, to his obsession with his job. As a physician specializing in prion research, Gabe often finds himself in a lab with few outside contacts except for his co-workers and the occasional exchanges with higher-ups from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But when a man who exhibits the symptoms of prion-based mad cow disease shows up in a Los Angeles hospital, Gabe believes that his biggest fear of a devastating outbreak might be on the horizon and rushes to find the source of the outbreak. Meanwhile, Chel Manu, a Guatemalan-born expert on Mayan culture and epigraphy, or the study of inscriptions, is party to a newly discovered codex. The codex, an ancient manuscript, is believed to have been stolen from the tomb of a Mayan king, and if Chel’s suspicions are correct, it’s the oldest ever located. The find both exults and terrifies her since it’s a stolen antiquity and possessing it could cost her the profession she loves. When Chel is asked to assist Gabe in translating the incoherent dying ramblings of the man thought to have a prion-based disease, she discovers that the road to finding the key to saving millions of lives could lead her back to the place and time of her ancestors. Thomason displays an impressive depth of knowledge of both science and the ancient Mayan way of life. Along the way, he skillfully ramps up the action, one notch at a time.

A winning book.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-385-34140-0
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Dial Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2012


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