Author: Robin Cook
Synopsis: Taken From The Book…
With billions of dollars in revenue at stake, every scientist in America is fighting to discover the next Prozac, the latest ‘feel good’ drug.
Edward Armstrong believes he has hit the jackpot. Using bacterial mould first uncovered during the infamous Salem witchcraft trials, he isolates a stunningly effective anti depressant – and races towards clinical trials.
But there is more to Ultra than a simple crock of gold: more than even a modern witch could dream….
When Edward turns violent, and the corpses of mutilated animals begin to turn up near the laboratory, Edward’s girlfriend decides to investigate the truth about the ‘miracle’ drug. Before it claims any more innocent lives….
About The Author:
American doctor and author Robin Cook was the first to introduce the “medical” thriller,with his novel ‘COMA’.
He has commented, that he chose to write medical thrillers, because the forum gives him an opportunity to arouse the public interest in medicine, particularly controversial research areas and ethical issues. He feels that is the public who should really, ultimately decide, which direction should be taken, in some of these areas.
My Review Of ‘Acceptable Risk’:
“From the roots of ancient witchcraft – a new terror to destroy”…
That one line, from the back cover of the book, just about sums up the tension in this novel, for me.
The way that the first part of the story, is linked back to the Salem witchcraft trials, is intriguing and eerie and, in itself, makes me want to re-visit The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts (Penguin Modern Classics) Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’, which has been relegated to the back burner of my memory, over the long years since GCE Examinations!!
I did find that the overly detailed descriptions, of certain medical terms and phrasing, a little disconcerting, but I can understand, from reading Robin Cook’s Bio, that it is probably all part of the thought provoking and public awareness process, that he is using to evoke discussion, in certain controversial areas.
He uses this technique in the story, to enable Kim, one of the central characters, to begin to examine her own feelings and beliefs. She ultimately decides that her own decisions are the most important to her and finds that she is now capable of making them without the use of medication, which has always shifted the onus of those decisions, seemingly outside of her control.
Edward is portrayed as a studious, caring, dedicated scientific researcher, keen to empower his students with the same values and ethics about their own research. The lure of maybe being able to discover a new ‘miracle’ drug, to help people, is initially his only interest in the project. Then, however, time and money become major influencing factors in his research, as the financial backers and share holders, start to have a greater say in the project’s direction and threaten to withdraw their financial support.
By now, Edward and his fellow researchers, are as much on the ‘money gravy train’, as anyone else. Now, the unethical and questionable steps, that he, and his fellow researchers, are forced to take, quickly overtake their reasoning skills and care for the legality of what they are doing, with dire consequences for everyone involved.
The author subliminally took me down the route of asking myself questions about the quality of research into the discovery of these new ‘miracle’ drugs; how much the financial backing by the drug companies really affects the quality of the research and testing, how quickly the drugs are forced to come to market, and whether the concept of the story is as fictional as we might think it to be, given that the whole area of medical research is an enigma to the average person on the street.
That’s all apart from the fact, that the book, is, in itself, a rattling good read, that I couldn’t put down.
Keep a look out for Robin Cook’s latest medical thriller, ‘CURE’, due for release in August 2010