This book is part mystery, part medical thriller, and part horror. Its imagery is vivid, so much so that I felt a bit nauseated at times. It starts with a train crash in China that leaves only one survivor and the ensuing conspiracy is far-reaching and evil. There's no other way to describe it. There are powerful people and powerful corporations taking advantage of the poor, the anonymous, and the powerless for money. Sometimes they try to justify it as trying to make life better for people, but they treat people like lab animals and then laugh about it. Like I said--evil.
The main character of the book is Angelique de l'Enfantine, a French woman married to an America she is separated from. She studied to be a doctor, but didn't finish, and instead is a medical reporter. She's also an heiress, which helps since she travels all over the place during the course of this book.
She sees things she isn't supposed to while investigating the story of the train crash and is soon on the run from people who don't want her digging too deeply. The problem is she doesn't know who is on her side and who isn't. Neither do we. When she finally figures out the truth, again the imagery is quite gross and the unethical and illegal behavior of its proponents disgusts her and us. Also, the idea that this human experimentation is continuing leaves you with the feeling that it can get out-of-control very easily and threaten humanity.
Angel, as she prefers to be called, does have some allies, namely, Norstrom. He's a secret agent, but she doesn't know where he's from. He warns her to get away from this thing, but, of course, she doesn't.
There is also a mysterious "man in black" that appears rarely. Angel and we have no idea who he is. An additional mystery involves her brother--is he alive or dead? Does he have a part in all this? We don't know yet.
This is a very good book. I started out thinking it was an apocalyptic viral story, but it isn't. It can easily turn apocalyptic, though. There seem to be very few people with ethical standards, which, unfortunately, mirrors our society today.
This is the first book in a long series. I have the next two Flense books, but it will be quite costly to read the entire series. That is unfortunately.
I highly recommend this book.