The Hot Zone: Part Four

The Hot Zone is probably the best books I have ever read! I never would’ve believed anyone, even myself, if I heard that. In the beginning I thought it was a drag, but the plot built up so quickly and was so informative, I fell in love with the book. Richard Preston was written about the story of Ebola in a way that I don’t think anyone else could have. Part four of the novel wasn’t my favorite since there wasn’t as much action going on, as opposed to the other sections. However, my favorite part in this section was when Preston explored the cave, so close to the possible origin and hosts of the virus. What amazed me the most was this actually happened. It isn’t a work of fiction; Preston actually traveled in the cave, interviewed all the people involved with virus and its outbreaks, gathered and gave first-hand reports of the events. I am a bit angry though; he ended the story with an amazing, suspenseful cliffhanger. I was shocked when I read about him visiting the monkey house and finishing the book with “Ebola had risen in these rooms, flashed its colors, fed, and subsided into the forest. It will be back.” And I sat there, immediately planning on getting the sequel, it struck me that there isn’t a sequel; there are no captivating non-fiction books describing other outbreaks and discoveries on the filoviruses. I suppose it is a good thing that there aren’t, since that would mean not as many deaths and such, but I still have a feeling of emptiness, like there should be more. Preston has managed to grow that feeling in me, and I’m not sure I like it very much. The Hot Zone truly is a magnificent, gripping, informative novel and is, as the cover ever so clearly states, “a terrifying true story.”

I really learned a lot, again, from part four of the novel. It was so fascinating to read about Preston’s trip to and inside Kitum Cave. His descriptions provided a vivid image in my mind. He described all the animals which resided in the cave and came in and out of it. The first person point of view used in this part of the novel made it a little bit more thrilling, terrifying, and believable. I read about how the discovery that Marburg can stay unchanged in water was made. I also found it fascinating to read all the information about AIDS and HIV. I learned that AIDS is a very fast mutator and can change hosts very quickly. I thought it was interesting to read Preston’s descriptions and views of how all the viruses, especially AIDS, may be earth’s way of ridding itself of the human parasite, as opposed to the normal view of the human race being attacked by viruses of nature.

The question that is still haunting me is the question that may never be answered: what is the true, exact original origin and host of the filoviruses Marburg and Ebola? What about for AIDS and HIV? I suppose these are questions that may never have definite answers, but I am more than happy with what I have learned and read about in remarkable, unbeatable novel The Hot Zone!


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