LONDON is in lockdown: nobody is allowed out and almost nobody wishes to be allowed in, with the rare exception of the few contractors for whom a frenzy of emergency construction has created an earning bonanza.
Early on the morning of his last full day on the job, Detective Inspector Jack MacNeil is called to a building site where a sports bag full of human bones has just been found. It’s an unpopular discovery: the building team is on an almost-impossibly tight deadline to compete a new overflow hospital facility and any interruption to the schedule is both politically and financially awkward.
MacNeil’s priority, however, lies with discovering the identity of the victim and then tracking down the killer. But at precisely 7am tomorrow he will clock off from his role with London’s Metropolitan Police for good. Finally, he will have time to spend with his son, who is presently living in isolation with MacNeil’s estranged wife as residents voluntarily cut themselves off from all outside contact in an effort to evade near-certain death.
The strain of bird flu that has infected London is incredibly contagious and is fatal in roughly 80 per cent of cases. The odds for anyone unfortunate enough to contract it are dismal.
Yet MacNeil must continue to go about his work in as professional a way he can manage under a crippling state of martial law.
Eerily accurate in its depiction of a life-threatening 21st-century epidemic, the manuscript of this novel had been sitting completely ignored in bestselling author Peter May’s files for years, having failed to attract the support of any mainstream publisher when it was first completed.
The arrival of the novel coronavirus saw it reborn and green-lit through the production and distribution process in a matter of only weeks, and it has now been translated into several languages, including German and Portuguese.