Book Review: An educational thriller about a scenario that could easily happen in our lifetime

Rating: 5 stars

Gil Molin is an M.D. and Research Ophthalmologist at the San Francisco University of Cal Med School. He has authored innumerable research articles and seven textbooks, has lectured all over the world, and serves as a reviewer of ophthalmology serials. He has won awards for his work in developing countries and has treated patients with leprosy in India.

Although there has been a virtual news blackout of the scientific community, word has still gotten out that if certain mutations are caused by overuse of antibiotics, the world could see a pandemic similar to the Black Death in the thirteen century. In REIGN OF THE RAT, Smolin investigates this phenomena. It begins in Nepal, when a farmer’s fingers fall off and quickly spreads to the United States via an aide worker.

Dr. Michael Cohen, famous archaeobiologist, is thrown together with his former girlfriend, Dr. Alice Morgan-Wright, her vengeful sister, Rowan, and a brave holy man named Brother Rose to try to stop the spread of the plague before it annihilates life as we know it:

He saw a dark avenging angel rise up from a grave, soar into the sky and sweep across the world, search for and then devouring the hungry leprosy. When he awoke in the morning, he lay still. He didn’t want to move until he’d replayed the dream in his head. He knew what he had to do. Michael had studied and intimately knew the identity of this dark angel. It was the Black Plague-and it was time for it to rise again.

It is one thing to read a distant news article, and quite another for a famous researcher to set the perils of another epidemic into a story with actual characters and descriptions of the terrifying symptoms. Dr. Smolin writes a heckuva first novel, placing the reader smack dab in the middle of Nepal to dog the footsteps of researchers who are frantically trying to save the world.