Quarantine by John Smolens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Quarantine by John Smolens is set in Newportbury, Massachusetts in June of 1779 on the eve of a Malaria outbreak. The fever sweeps through the small fishing town both literally and figuratively.
Dr. Giles Wiggins and Leander Hatch bravely risk them own lives as they strive to see their families, neighbors, and town through the summer of 1779.
The plot behind Quarantine is both interesting and rich in in detail.
The trouble lies with Wiggin's mother, Miranda, whose namesake ship is quarantined under a yellow flag and as the distinct honor of bringing the town to its knees. Smolens keenly weaves the real Miranda with her yellow flagged counterpart. Miranda only leaves death in her wake.
Sitting at Miranda's right hand is her sleazy grandson, Samuel who has recently dethroned his less sleazy father, Enoch. Samuel bribed his way off the Miranda and once ashore, commences to scam and swindle.
The deck appears stacked against the good doctor Wiggins, who just so happens to be Miranda's youngest son and Enoch's half brother. Giles super power seems to be intuition. Like the fever, Giles understands his mother better than any other character.
In a discussion with his mother, Giles describes Miranda thusly:
"Mother, you can be hot and cold, ruthlessly arbitrary, much like this..."
Involuntarily she stepped back from his cot. "Like this fever? Perhaps, you have a better chance of understanding this disease than your own mother."
As if things weren't bad enough in the town of Newportbury, we have crazy Christians to deal with, corrupt law men, and mob mentality to boot.
The novel suffers from some slow pacing in the middle of the book, but readers can look forward to a swift pace as the novel makes its way towards to finish lines.
ARC provided by Pegasus in association with Netgalley.com
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