In Los Angeles, two weeks before, all is calm. Dr. Gabriel Stanton takes his usual morning bike ride, drops off the dog with his ex-wife, and heads to the lab where he studies incurable prion diseases for the CDC. His first phone call is from a hospital resident who has an urgent case she thinks he needs to see. Meanwhile, Chel Manu, a young Guatemalan American researcher at the Getty Museum, is interrupted by a desperate, unwelcome visitor from the black market antiquities trade who thrusts a black duffel bag into her hands.
By the end of the day, Stanton, the foremost expert on some of the rarest infections in the world, is grappling with a patient whose every symptom confounds and terrifies him. And Chel, the brightest young star in the field of Maya studies, has possession of an illegal artifact that has miraculously survived the centuries intact: a priceless codex from a lost city of her ancestors. This extraordinary record, written in secret by a royal scribe, seems to hold the answer to her life's work and to one of history's great riddles: why the Maya kingdoms vanished seemingly overnight. Suddenly it seems that our own civilization might suffer this same fate. And only days remain until 12.21
World renowned expert Dr. Gabriel Stanton doesn't expect to encounter a patient with prion disease. When Stanton receives a call about an urgent case, he nearly dismisses the call believing that the resident has misdiagnosed the disease. But careful examination leads Stanton to discover that the patient is not just infected with prion disease but that the gestation period for the disease is dangerously short. This disease doesn't just spread easily, it develops and kills swiftly.
It's by chance that Stanton meets antiquities expert Chel Manu when she acts as translator for the prion patient. Chel specializes in Maya studies and has obtained priceless codex from a lost city through the black market. As she speaks to the patient, she learns that he may have visited this same lost city and tries to learn more about his exploration - but for her own benefit. Though not immediately apparent, her act of self interest has dire consequences and severely impacts the CDC's ability to control the spread of the disease.
When she discovers her mistake, Chel works to reverse the damage, poring through ancient artifacts, going over oral history. Fortunately, Chel's network and knowledge is deep. Chel works hard to separate facts from myth. Stanton searches for a possible vaccine for the prion disease. In just a few days, the disease becomes an epidemic and there is a growing sense of dread in Los Angeles which is heightened by doomsayers claiming that the Mayan calendar predicts that end of the world will come in 12-21 2012. Stanton and Manu team up to find a solution to this deadly disease while battling bureaucrats, antiquity dealers, and end of the world fanatics.
Fast paced, complex, and deeply engrossing, in 12-21 Thomason delivers a scientific thriller in the vein of Michael Crichton.
ISBN-10: 0385341407 - Hardcover $27.00
Publisher: The Dial Press (August 7, 2012), 336 pages.
Review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours and the publisher.
About the Author:
Dustin Thomason attended Harvard University, where he studied anthropology and medicine. He won the Hoopes Prize for undergraduate writing, and graduated in 1998. Thomason also received his M.D. and MBA from Columbia University in 2003. Learn more about Dustin Thomason and his novels at www.12-21book.com