Based on a true story, this is an account of how Dr Alec Gordon struggles to understand how a mysterious disease, puerperal fever, becomes an epidemic in 1790 Aberdeen.
Meticulously researched, both in the locations and the medical knowledge of the time, the novel shows how Gordon struggles against the scepticism of the more complacent doctors in the town, the antagonism of the midwives and his own family problems. His wife, Elizabeth is increasingly consumed by memories of her childhood in Antigua and her secrets, but he has little time or energy to spare for her.
Well known as a journalist and writer of non-fiction, Rebecca Abrams brings all her skills into this first novel. It is beautifully written with details that take the reader straight into Aberdeen and the country around at all times and all seasons, or, painfully, to the bedsides of women giving birth or dying horribly when the illness strikes.
Gordon was a man ahead of his time, but his pioneering work was forgotten for decades. This novel will help to re-establish him as a clever, caring man who observed facts and drew correct conclusions from them.