Author: Christy Esmahan
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release date: February 20th 2015
Started: March 22nd 2016
Finished: March 25th 2016
Do you ever wonder about how scientists’ minds work? About how cures are discovered and people saved? About the process of medical research?
When I think of any of this, unpronounceable words and complex notions come to mind. I remember those long hours in high school, sitting in the chemistry lab, completely lost. Then I read Scifi and Scary’s review of The Laptev Virus. And I got curious.
An oil company is conducting drilling in the Artic. Two white bears later, a sample of ice gets messed with and a megavirus is set free, killing crew members (Don’t worry, I did not know what a megavirus was either). Now, it’s up to a team of scientists in Houston to find a way to protect the workers and stop the virus from spreading. Time is running out as other oil companies are also doing their best to reach the Artic’s resources.
Aren’t you curious too, now?
Of course, I was afraid I would not understand a thing, I would get bored, I would feel like crap because I could not grasp a single notion discussed in the book. After all, I had been warned it would be heavy on weird never-ending terms and scientific references. How little did I know.
I learned a lot reading the Laptev Virus. The story wraps up the explanations in a clever way, so it never feels like you’re reading a textbook or listening to an old dribbling teacher. Notions and key elements are described with smart and easy-to-understand examples and notions are broken down to their simplest. Still, the right terms and processes are used, so you actually feel like you’re witnessing real science happening and the book is opening a tiny window for you to get an understanding of what’s going on.
The focus is not entirely on sciences, though, or I would never have been able to finish it. I always need something else going on, pauses between experiences and small breaks into life. We get to follow different people all related to the event, from the young girl working part-time at the lab to the CEO of the oil company. This allows us to fully comprehend what’s at stake for everyone. We spend a lot of time with Sarah, the head of the team of investigators in charge of the research on the Laptev Virus. Her team is composed of very different people, leaving room for some interesting progress meetings and unexpected culture references (I was surprised and pleased to get them!). I really appreciated spending time with every character, each with their priorities, issues, feelings. It really gave depth to a story that could easily have slipped into a cold and neat scientific paper.
I absolutely do not regret stepping out of my comfort zone to read this. I highly recommend it to anyone willing to learn a bit more about viruses, not afraid of big words and mice experiments, or simply looking for a well-built storyline filled with interesting characters.