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The Trudeau Vector    by Juris Jurjevics order for
Trudeau Vector
by Juris Jurjevics
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2006 (2005)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

As the long arctic winter begins to close in upon Arctic Research Station Trudeau, the multinational corps of research scientists at the station says a fond and celebratory farewell to their Russian colleague, Dr. Lidiya Tarakanova, who has just made her exit from Trudeau. Almost immediately, though, everyone who remains at Trudeau must deal with a puzzling disaster: Four of the station's top scientists have suddenly died.

The complexity of the puzzle, however, lies in discovering the causes of death. One man, having apparently if not certainly died of exposure, was found naked and alone in forty-below-zero temperatures, miles away from his three colleagues; those three colleagues - two men and a woman - were found in a most unexplainable condition: their bodies were grotesquely contorted and the pupils were gone from their eyes. Everyone at Trudeau is disturbed by the grotesque tragedy, but no one can even guess at an answer to the questions: what actually caused the deaths? What happened to the three scientists' eyes?

Desperate to find out what has happened to their four colleagues, the station directors ask for help from the Infectious Disease Center, a private, nonprofit facility in southern California. Immediately - before the encroaching winter weather forecloses all possibility of travel into Trudeau - the Center dispatches one of its top epidemiologists: Dr. Jessie Hanley. Creative, intuitive, and impulsive, Jessie cannot resist the challenge posed by the Trudeau incident.

Meanwhile, in what at first appears to have been an unrelated incident, the Vladavostok, a Russian submarine, is lost at sea and lies stranded in more than 600 feet of water. The once powerful but now humble Russian navy immediately sends the Rus to attempt a rescue and recovery operation. The officer-in-charge deployed aboard the Rus has specific orders and priorities: save the crew, if possible, but - much more importantly - be certain to recover certain sensitive documents and objects from the submarine commander's office. When the Rus arrives at the scene of the Vladavostok disaster, however, no one is prepared for the kind of horror and danger that must now be confronted.

Elsewhere, when Dr. Hanley completes her 4,000 mile journey and arrives at the remote and isolated station, she immediately begins the methodical process of solving the Trudeau mystery. Were the deaths caused by a virus? bacteria? parasite? toxin? Or could it have been something even more dangerous and unstoppable? She first confronts the clear and infectious reality among the station's scientists: 'We have no facts, just theory and fear.' Dr. Hanley then - upon further investigation - confronts a larger reality: the deaths, and a much more urgent problem, may be related to unique microorganisms that seem to have been dangerously altered by Cold War technology in such a way that they now - if they fall into the wrong hands - might be used to destroy the world's population.

And there you have the skeletal premise for The Trudeau Vector, one of the past decade's most effective scientific thrillers. Dual plots, each ingeniously conceived and adroitly structured, converge in unexpected ways in the novel's race to a harrowing climax. Combining the track-proven themes found in Michael Crichton's and Tom Clancy's best novels, author Juris Jurjevics (Soho Press co-founder and publisher) clearly knows how to give readers an apocalyptic tour-de-force overflowing with complex characters, scientific intricacies, ecological puzzles, and environmental terror.

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