Carl Sims, a young virologist, discovers a plot hatched by agroup of international scientists to cull, in a matter of weeks, two-thirds ofthe world’s population—some 4.5 billion people—by releasing a deadly virus.Their goal is to reduce Earth’s population from an unsustainable seven billionto two billion. What is he to do? Try to stop the conspiracy, or join it?
It’s horrific, yes, but what if this culling could preventthe extinction of some 40 percent of the planet’s flora and fauna? Or if he wascertain it was the only way to prevent an even larger human die-off, incurringsignificantly more suffering, by the end of this century? Or if he wereconvinced it represented the only hope for humanity surviving at all? This isat the heart of this thriller, for these viruses do, in fact, exist.
Most everything that plagues mankind today—the highest concentration of atmospheric CO₂ in three million years, escalating extinction rates, habitatloss, fishery collapses, climate change, polar and glacial ice thaws, arableland loss, desertification, aquifer depletions, ocean acidification,unprecedented air pollution, looming famine, and social unrest—stems from overconsumption which, unchecked, will lead to Earth’s sixth mass extinction event.