An isolated, plague-ridden, future Canada is the setting of the 2nd book in the new series Freedom 2176. In 2070, multiple bio-terror viruses smallpox, Ebola and anthrax were released in Toronto, causing all other nations to close all borders in an unbreakable quarantine. While Canada fought to survive, the only contact with the outside came from occasional airdrops of relief supplies. After 106 years, Canada is looking at the possibility of finally being plague free and having their borders re-opened, although they have learned to live within their own resources by developing alternate power systems and synthesizing replacements for items no longer available to them.
Day Daniels is a pint-sized Mountie dedicated to “Be it all. Do it all.”, the Mountie motto. A hyper-immune survivor of a quarantine camp as a small child, she had been adopted by the Mountie who rescued her. Because of the adoption, Trafalgar Daniels had been passed over for a coveted rank of G1, the highest honor a Mountie could be awarded. Day is about to make all her Dad’s dreams come true by achieving that award for herself. When her partner is killed and she is given the lead in the investigation, it is apparent that she is on her way to the promotion.
Lian Firebird is a “Plague Hunter” from Health Canada, a doctor who has spent the last several years searching for outbreaks of the original viruses that decimated their country. Being anything but tiny, he is six foot plus of primal male. He’s also of Native Ancestry, although he doesn’t admit which tribe. He also becomes Day’s new partner, because traces of a new-engineered strain of smallpox were found in the wound that killed Day’s partner.
Since the RCMP, short for Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Health Canada are the best-funded departments of the Canadian government, but were in direct competition for a bigger share of the funds, there is a natural antagonism between the two departments. Add to that the fact that Mounties are sworn to uphold the law while Plague Hunters do whatever is necessary to contain virus outbreaks whether strictly legal or not, and you have a natural battlefield brewing whenever the two are together. Placing Lian in charge of their partnership puts them even more at odds, from Day’s point of view. But from the first, even before Day realizes they are to be partners, they work together like they’ve been partners for years, anticipating each other’s moves and complementing each other’s efforts.
While there is much, much more to the plot, it is better told in Kathleen’s style and it would take away from the story to give any more of the story. Suffice it to say that this is a riveting, intriguing story of two people who find their soul mate in the middle of severe crisis, even though their future is decidedly uncertain. It’s a great read by itself and should be an even more satisfying read when combined with the other 4 stories in the series. It’s a definite 5 out of 5 in my book. I can’t wait to see how it ties in with the rest of the series, because if the rest of the stories are as good as this one, we’re looking at five months of GREAT reading!
Marcia Corbett, March 2004
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