Imagine a plague that kills some of its victims but leaves others more intelligent than ever before; a plague that may be a gift from the gods, but which might also be turning humanity into a massive hive-mind, working us towards a sinister goal and robbing us of our free will?
That’s the dilemma facing NSA code-breaker Neil Johns, whose brother Paul has just returned from a dangerous trip into the Amazon basin where a fungal infection (not to mention a ruthless gang of river pirates) almost killed him. Paul is a mycologist but the mushrooms he picked during his journey through the jungle interior are far from magic. In fact, it is their spores that are spreading the genius plague and – Neil believes – are also at the centre of a dangerous international conspiracy. Can the plague be used as a force for good, or is it an utterly alien intelligence forcing us towards our own destruction? Paul, whose behaviour has become increasingly more erratic, wants his brother to embrace this next stage of human evolution. Neil, however, believes this is a menace that must be stopped at any cost – but how do you halt the spread of an airborne intelligence that has already worked its way around every corner of the earth?
David Walton has already published six highly acclaimed novels and was the recipient of the Philip K. Dick Award for his debut offering, Terminal Mind. The Genius Plague may be the best book he has written so far. It isn’t just intensely readable and deeply disturbing, it has (as is par for the course for Walton) the ring of well-researched authenticity that is guaranteed to keep the more nervous or hypochondriacal reader lying awake at night, wondering if this is how the human race will really end. The Genius Plague is the ultimate ‘hot zone’ thriller, a kind of literary mash-up of Outbreak and The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Very believable, very scary, and you will never look at a mushroom in quite the same way again.
THE GENIUS PLAGUE / AUTHOR: DAVID WALTON / PUBLISHER: PYR / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW