Biochemist Emma Caldridge joins Jackson Rand, pharmaceutical CEO, on a humanitarian mission to deliver vaccines to remote villages in Africa. But after narrowly escaping a crew of trained assassins, Emma realizes that there is more to this mission than she anticipated. Rand is keeping secrets from her, information that could cost both of them their lives…not to mention millions more.
After its eradication nearly forty years ago, the smallpox virus is once again threatening the world. With no known cure and limited stores of vaccine, the highly contagious, deadly and disfiguring disease has the power to wipe out entire cities. Rand’s company was hired to secure the last known vials, but some have gone missing in Africa and a ruthless government now hunts them for use as a biochemical weapon.
Emma must locate these vials before the killer plague is unleashed on the innocent, ravaging a world that never expected to see it again. She runs to the border, finding and freeing hostages as she does. But an insurgency is rising around them, blocking their every attempt to escape. Surrounded and with no choice but to head to the desert, Emma must stop the virus and lead her ragtag team to freedom…if the Sahara doesn’t kill them first.
In Freveletti's bleak fifth Emma Caldridge thriller (after 2012's Dead Asleep), Jackson Rand, the head of Rand Pharmaceuticals, hires Emma to accompany him on a humanitarian mission to war-torn Senegal. Emma, a biochemist who does security work on the side, soon figures out that Jackson values her more for her "background in weapons and quick thinking in tight spots" than her scientific expertise. Meanwhile, the pair must deal with the consequences of someone switching their vials of smallpox vaccine with ones containing live smallpox. Emma and Jackson engage in a series of desperate attempts to call in assistance as numerous bands of mercenaries close in from all directions. They must also contend with such natural threats as extreme heat and sand storms. Edward Banner, the CEO of a security company that has employed Emma, and sharpshooter Cameron Sumner lend assistance. Loads of people, mostly poor villagers, die or are otherwise tortured, starved, and maimed in what amounts to one long escape novel. Even series fans may wish the author had provided some relief from the unrelenting violence.