Just a quick note about my next book, The Remedy, which will be out in early 2014, published by Penguin/Gotham. It’s a tremendously exciting true story that takes place in the last decades of the 19th century. It’s about the invention of modern medicine, the pursuit of scientific glory, and the attempt to cure the world’s most deadly disease, tuberculosis (also known, at the time, as consumption).
The book traces the career of Robert Koch, a provincial German doctor who rose, through sheer determination and scientific diligence, to be the greatest scientist of the day. Koch was a self-made microbiologist, and thanks to his exacting personality, he built a body of evidence that convinced the world of the Germ Theory of Disease: that there is such a thing as germs, and that they are the cause of infectious disease — the very diseases that plagued mankind in the 19th century, tuberculosis worst among them.
The book also follows the unlikely rise of another provincial doctor, this one in England, named Arthur Conan Doyle.
Conan Doyle, of course, is known today as the author of Sherlock Holmes stories, but he was trained as a physician. The book follows Conan Doyle’s early years as he struggled, equally, to build a career as a physician and a reputation as an author. And it investigates how he diligently followed the changes to the medical profession, in particular the Germ Theory. From his small office in southern England, Conan Doyle admired the work of Robert Koch in Berlin, and eventually adapted his science into his stories: most prominently, a new detective story featuring a character named Sherlock Holmes.
What these two historic figures didn’t realize is that they were on an unlikely collision course — they would meet in one of the greatest showdowns in science, as Koch delivered the antidote the world clamored for: a Remedy for tuberculosis.
The book will be out in early 2014. I’m terribly excited about it. It’s not yet available for pre-order, but will be soon. If you want to be notified when it is available, send your email here and I’ll let you know.