Book Review: We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla
I am coming to you will a great book review for an under hyped book. I love me a pandemic, doomsday novel and this was a great pick. We All Fall Down is just the book for those like me, it follows a modern day black plague story!!! YAY – no zombies attached. I have never read Daniel Kalla but I will def read more from him ps Canadian Author and a doctor woo woo!! Also by this author includes: The Far Side of the Sky and Pandemic.
This story starts off with Vittoria who is in charge of a construction site. She has a wet cough and boils, passes out at work. She is supposed to tear down a monastery to build new condos and shopping centers.
Now enter Dr. Nico Olivia who is involved in caring for Vittoria. He called Alana to come and help with this patient in Genoa. Alana goes on many trips for her job to outbreaks around the world looking for the contamentent. This patient has been positive for a thought it be extinct ‘disease’ the black plague.
Now the second part of this book are journal entries from a Dr. Pasqua who treated the black plague back in 1348. He goes to the monastery that is being torn down- this is where his journal is found. Somehow Dr. Pasqua is immune to the disease and this arises suspicion from the archbishop – thinking maybe it is witchcraft.
Present day the plague is spreading outside the construction site. It is starting to hit the community and the number of sick patients is adding up. It has now started to transfer with the briefest of contact which is different from the original strand. We see Alana’s boss is having a hard time believing it is the plague and wants to pull Alana out. It is outlines that the fast spread with even with antibiotic use is happening which brings into question possible bioterrorism. It turns out that NATO has samples of the Soviet’s plague bacteria they were weaponizing back in the day, Alana wants to help ahold of these to compare to their strand.
They find rat droppings at the construction site, which is how the original black plague was spread- fleas on small animals. It seems that there is a history between Nico and ALana- they once were co-workers who fell in love. Nico now has a family and he is drunk texting Alana causing mixed feelings that make this situation harder.
Nico and Alana start to be little detective and want to find a missing construction site worker who was supposedly sick before Vittoria- possible patient zero. They meet with Emilio who knows Yasin – he believes he disappeared as well.
Back to the journals. Dr. P finds out the same monastery which is being torn down in present in the past had these rats touched by the hands of god. These particular rats are immune to the plague. He wants to make a makeshift vaccine from these rats but the monks are not allowing this as they were ‘touched by God’. He at this time is now sick and drinks the blood from these rats. And he lives – the first vaccine ! He goes back to collect more rats and now there is a rat keeper because the monks believe they are a gift from God.
So all the results come back in the present day. It turns out that the rats are immune to the strand but the fleas they carry are not. Is this the perfect bio weapon? We learn that the monk present at the beginning of the story sitting outside the construction site is really the person releasing the ‘infected’ rats into the city. He is releasing them into the slums because he believe God is stelling him humanity needs salvation and cleansing.
Dr. P’s journals paint a picture of hysteria among man when the outbreak was at its peak. They all wanted someone to blame, just like what Alana was seeing in present day. Dr.P. learns that the monastery set up crypts for the rats in case of a future plague outbreak thus protecting the rats throughout the centuries. For the following years the monks unknowingly fed these rats as they threw their garbage down a chute that led to their crypts.
This monk who hears the voice of God – Stefano- is receiving mysterious emails from someone telling him to follow the voice he thinks is God. God is out for vengeance because so many people have fallen out of religion.
Alana finds out that Nico really wants to work on his marriage and ends up hooking up with her co worker on this case Byron- who has given her trouble throughout.
Enter Don Arturo who spend years are the monastery and is upset it’s being torn down. Alana learns that he is the one sending the emails to Stefano. He convinces Stefano to get off his psych meds because he worked so closely with Stefano there was great trust. He justifies this so STefano can hear the Lord’s voice more clearly and he took that the treating down of the monastery was a sign that humankind needed correcting- kind of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons style.
Alana and Byron pursue Stefano onto a ship where he was going to release the rats into Asia. He decides to hide in the food bins on the ships so the rats have food and no one would look for him there. Alana finds him and tries to convince him that what he was doing was cruel, he was hurting children. Stefano caves as he is a good person deep down.
Overall it was kind of your typical religious doomsday novel but I enjoyed being an old plague to haunt modern day. I will look forward to reading more of his novels in the future. Have any of you read this one? What did you think? Please feel free to leave comments below. I would love to hear from you. What are some of your fav disaster books – ps look for my top 5 natural disaster and man made disaster posts in the future!!