The experts all anticipated an influenza pandemic, after all these have occurred every ten to fifty years since the sixteenth century. They were just a natural part of being a highly mobile global species. We were ready. A million scenarios on thousands of computers all indicated we had the epidemiology down pat, we were looking for it. It never occurred to anybody that the next biological assault on humanity would have nothing to do with pigs, chickens or ducks. John Patrick a middle aged biological anthropologist at UMaine Orono whose life is dovetailing into bliss. He finally has a girlfriend, research papers are just flying off his computer and grant money is flowing in. Working isolated in the driest and perhaps oldest desert on Earth, the Atacama, the last thing on his mind is the end of humanity. A poet from the show me state once declared that the end of the world will come with a whimper. He was wrong. It will come with a roar. 

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