When the first planes go down - in Europe, America and Asia - the authorities blame terrorists. All flights are grounded as world leaders try to figure out how the global assault has been coordinated. And when cars, ships and factories stop running too, it becomes clear that the common link is oil. A microbe, genetically engineered to destroy petroleum, has somehow infected the world supply. The world descends into a new dark age . . . Dr. Gregory Gillette, an epidemiologist with the Centres for Disease Control, is a disease hunter specializing in microbes that attack human beings. When the Pentagon asks him to be part of the Rapid Response Team assembled to track and kill the devastating Delta-3 bacteria, he quickly discovers that his expertise is being ignored, his presence meaningless. The leader of the task force is an old nemesis who sidelines Gillette. Returning home to Washington, Gillette watches in horror as food becomes scarce, neighbor attacks neighbor and the government collapses. With winter approaching, the capital faces anarchy and Gillette faces a choice: to stay with his family or to disobey orders and find the microbe's antidote through clues that might not even be real.
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