A hundred years ago in a remote corner of southwestern Kansas,
This historical fiction novel opens in the winter of 1918. Dr. Lorne Miller ponders the season’s influenza. A young farm boy had knocked on his office door, his parents dying. And then two more young men unexpectedly died. Boys their age were dying in the mud on the western front of the Great War, not on the plains of Kansas. Confounded by unusual symptoms and rapid deaths, Lorne makes a choice he will regret the rest of his life. Later, seeking salvation, Lorne pursues a vaccine for the devastating disease and finds himself embroiled in a public health crisis, power struggles, and politics.
Meanwhile, in defiance, his daughter Helen joins the army to serve as a nurse on the front lines of World War I. Months later, aboard the ship she sails for France, Helen discovers influenza and knows the contagion has invaded the troops. Struggling to find her place in life, Helen’s journey is further complicated by a budding relationship with one of her patients.
Alternately narrated by Lorne and Helen, father and daughter rely on purpose and family to persevere when facing darkness.
It is through their unique experience—battling this virus from patient zero to its climax—readers of this historical fiction novel learn about the 1918 influenza pandemic and consider the questions of duty, redemption, love,