Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Cold Plague"

Daniel Kalla is the international bestselling author of Pandemic, Resistance, Rage Therapy, and Blood Lies. He works as an emergency-room physician in Vancouver, British Columbia.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new book, Cold Plague, and reported the following:
Cold Plague is a thriller that delves into the very real scientific phenomena of massive lakes in the Antarctic and prions, those deadly proteins responsible for illnesses such as mad cow disease. With the return of Dr. Noah Haldane (the hero from Pandemic), Cold Plague marks my first sequel.

In the story, pristine water is discovered miles under Antarctic ice. A few months later a cluster of new cases of Mad Cow disease explodes in a rural France. Dr. Noah Haldane and his WHO team are urgently summoned to investigate. He recognizes the deadliness of a new prion that kills with the speed of a virus, but he suspects factors other than nature might have ignited its spread among people and animals in France. Facing a spate of disappearances and unexplained deaths, he uncovers a billion-dollar conspiracy (involving bottled water) that stretches from Moscow to Beverly Hills, and from the North to the South Pole. But he has to stay alive long enough to sound the alarm.

I’ve applied the page 69 test to Cold Plague. The scene occurs at the end of chapter nine in a skyscraper in St. Petersburg. Dr. Claude Fontaine, the scientist who successfully built the first well into Lake Vishnov is reporting to Yulia Radvogin, the oil tycoon who funded his expedition. He and his partner, Martine deGroot, are trying to explain to Radvogin that the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (the multinational governing body of the Antarctic) will not allow her access to off-shore oil drilling in the Antarctic, despite her financial contributions to the ground-breaking research. Yulia is incensed, but they are going to try to calm her with an alternate proposal…

From Page 69…

“I told them that environmental preservation and economic development are not mutually exclusive,” Fontaine said. “I argued that with the price of crude oil hitting record highs in the past twenty-four months and the global supply running low, that time was ripe for oil exploration carried out safely away from the continental shelf.” He clasped his hand together. “Science and commerce, working side by side to a mutually beneficial end.”


Fontaine cleared his throat. “They didn’t see it that way.”

Radvogin’s eyes froze over. “And my well?”

“I explained that Radvogin Industries would be far less able to maintain and offer international research access to the Vishnov site without the economic incentive of oil exploration in the area.”

“And?” she asked in a throaty whisper.

“Yulia, they will not amend the treaty.” He met her stare. “Even for you.”

Milahen stopped jotting notes on his pad. Beria stopped tapping the table. A few long moments of silence passed. “Two years ago,” Radvogin said as she quietly stared up at the ceiling. “You sat at this very table and you promised me that if I supported your research, Radvogin Industries would be allowed access to that oil.”

“I said I would do everything I could, I never promised—”

The sharp slap of Radvogin’s palm against the mahogany table silenced Fontaine in mid-sentence. “Leave the legal technicalities to Anatoly!” she barked, thumbing at her open-mouthed lawyer. “You gave me your word, Claude.”

Radvogin glared at him, and Fontaine felt the eyes of her bodyguards burning into his back.

As he opened his mouth to respond, Martine deGroot leaned forward in her chair. “Yulia,” she said, surprising Fontaine with the use of her first name. “May I say something?” “What?” Radvogin snapped.

“In every setback there is opportunity,” deGroot said.

Radvogin didn’t reply, but her face blanched and her lip quivered with rage.

DeGroot smiled confidently. “Forget the oil, Yulia,” she said as if dismissing a glass of spilled milk.

Forget it?” Radvogin pushed herself halfway up from her seat. “You want me to forget tens of millions of dollars worth of my own money?”

DeGroot’s smile grew wider, and she nodded. Fontaine welled with affection for the woman. Her steely poise was perfect.

“Why would I ever do that?” Radvogin hissed.

DeGroot let Radvogin’s loaded question hang in the air for a few moment before answering. “Because, Yulia.” She laughed. “Your well is sitting on something far more valuable than oil.”
Read an excerpt from Cold Plague, and learn more about the novel and author at Dan Kalla's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue