A.G. Riddle

The Atlantis Plague

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The Atlantis Plague Summary

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The Atlantis Plague (2013) is the second book in A.G. Riddle’s The Origin Mystery science fiction series. Readers are advised to read the first book, The Atlantis Gene, first, as this book picks up mere days after the first book ends. The plot centers on a war between two very different ideologies when a global pandemic arises, and the nature of humanity itself. This is Riddle’s debut series.

In The Atlantis Plague, humans are quarantined in special cities after a deadly plague spread across Earth. Those who are exposed to the virus usually die, but if they don’t, they either lose cognitive function or they develop a higher intelligence. People with the virus must be kept separate from those who don’t have it. All most people know is that the plague originally arrived on Earth by spaceship, but no one knows how to vaccinate against it.

The protagonist is Dr. Kate Warner, a doctor and plague specialist living in Marbella, Spain. She’s on a secondment, living in one of the designated plague cities. No one can get in or out without special permission—this doesn’t suit the free-spirited Kate. Kate’s the type of woman who doesn’t care what others think about her and only wants to do her best by other people—especially those infected by the plague. This sometimes means going against orders from her superiors and looking for unconventional cures. She doesn’t care about bureaucracy, and she doesn’t report or log much of her activities.

When the book opens, Kate’s comforting a patient who is about to die. Her overseers demand that she produces a report on the death because they’re seeing a rising number of similar deaths lately. She must do an autopsy and get a sample of blood and tissue for analysis. Kate complies when the woman passes away, although she’s uncomfortable treating someone as just an experiment or source of information.

When the results confirm the woman died of the so-called “Atlantis Plague,” this merely confirms what everyone already knows from the first book—this plague isn’t dying out any time soon, and a cure is more important now than ever. Kate’s been looking for a cure in Marbella by studying autistic children and their brain patterns, but her studies aren’t giving her the results she needs.

She’s under constant pressure to produce results, but no one listens when she explains traditional virus control methods aren’t working. All they have right now is a drug called Orchid. This drug manages symptoms and helps prevent people dying from the infection, but it doesn’t cure it. As soon as they stop taking the drug, they might die. Kate’s stepfather, Martin, has his own ideas about how to cure it, but he has his reasons for keeping them secret.

There’s one other option for controlling the plague, and that’s doing nothing. A secret group called the Immari thinks humans should just let the plague kill off whom it chooses. Those left behind will be the strongest and smartest, which benefits humanity. Immari members are willing to use violent means and even go to war to fight for their beliefs.

Kate, meanwhile, won’t rest until she finds a way to end the plague that benefits society as a whole. She can’t stand by and watch people die in a “survival of the fittest” contest. She makes it her mission to find out why the Immari believe what they do. To do this, she joins forces with David Vale, who’s part of the group. He’s a major character from the first book, who has recently been resurrected by an unknown force. Although he’ll help Kate, he wants to convince her that letting nature take its course is the right option.

As they study the illness and how it behaves, they discover that the plague isn’t a normal virus at all. Instead, it reactivates dormant DNA. This means that normal medical treatments will never work, and there’s no point in quarantining anyone. Kate and David must understand the genome and how to control the changes if they want to stop the plague from killing anyone else.

Knowing that survivors have enhanced DNA also changes how many people feel about the Immari. Many now believe the Immari are right, and this plague is simply aliens speeding up our natural selection process. Those who survive don’t want a cure, because they believe they’re somehow “improved.”

Aliens want select individuals, who’re strong enough, to survive extinction and form a new, better human population. Everyone who survives the plague has what’s known as “The Atlantis Gene.” The Atlantis Gene is a remnant from the original experiments on the human genome by aliens many years ago. It alters personalities and carries over memories from past lives.

Immari followers prepare for war because they want to take over Earth. They believe they’re right in doing so. To prevent war from erupting, Kate and David must look back to key events in human history to see when the genome changed before, and how humanity moved past this. It’s this ultimate battle that they’ll face in the final book, The Atlantis World.