Homewood Public Library's Reviews > Streams of Babel

Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci
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Mar 06, 12

bookshelves: young-adult, mystery

Half a world away a 16-year-old boy sits in an Internet cafe near Karachi, Pakistan. A brilliant computer programmer, Shahzad works as a v-spy for the United States government. He's picked up some Internet chatter about a substance called Red Vinegar: "Waters will run red in Colony One...Waters will run red three hours from Home Base in December...They will drink in December and die like mangy dogs in April."

It's March in Trinity Falls, New Jersey. On the same day, on the same street, two women die of brain aneurysms. One a lawyer who gives more than she takes. The other a morphine-addicted ex-photojournalist. Both leave behind teenagers who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Coincidence? Or could this be Colony One?

Paramedic Scott Eberman just lost his mother. His brother, Owen, and Owen's classmates and neighbors, Rain and Cora, are all exhibiting flu-like symptoms similar to those of Mrs. Eberman before she died of an aneurysm. Scott is frantically searching for answers, but can he find them before it's too late? Meanwhile, the U.S. Intelligence Coalition (USIC) is also involved, trying to discover if these are the first cases of Red Vinegar. And in Pakistan, Shahzad desperately tries to obtain the recipe and plans for Red Vinegar by v-spying on the bioterrorists.

This plot is ripped from our nightmares. What if bioterrorists concentrated their efforts on poisoning our water supply with something our doctors, scientists and government had never encountered? Who would be targeted? How long would it take to identify? How many would die before a cure was found? This complex novel delves deep into our fears and tells the story from five points of view, each with a unique perspective. Surprisingly, this doesn't get confusing, but instead adds to the overall tension and intrigue of the plot. If you enjoy thrillers, this book is for you.
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