Rick Decker, crusading reporter on the Cincinnati Eagle (The Serpentine Wall, 1988), now tackles the bubonic plague--and almost succumbs to it himself. The first plague victim, a Native American medicine man who had journeyed to Ohio to help Little Bear, a tribeswoman, is found dead in the alley behind a shelter for the homeless, the former Doppelman's brewery. Two more victims are discovered in the shelter itself. But, curiously, there is evidence they may have been moved there to die and that their plague was generated by injection rather than rat bites. Meanwhile, the city is in a panic, and among those clamoring for the shelter's closing are several prominent participants in the Crowne Point Development Corporation who stand to profit mightily if the property is condemned. How were the derelicts killed and who did it? A searing walk in the underground bowels of the brewery almost provides Rick with firsthand knowledge, but his escape and recovery implicate several public health officials and greedy developers. A better-than-average airplane book that deftly interweaves the scourge of the Middle Ages with tribal lore and the current obsession for land-grabbing.