During an international conference on veterinary diseases in San Francisco, the delegate from Pakistan is murdered. Shortly afterwards, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease occurs in Oklahoma, which spreads across the American mid-west with alarming speed. An FBI investigation, led by Special Agent Angela Garcia, connects the murder to the outbreak and begins a nationwide manhunt for a group of bioterrorists deliberately targeting America's huge cattle feedlots.
British scientist Dr. Paul Caine is called in to help with the investigation. Soon he is embroiled in intrigue as he is pursued by a mysterious and sexy Chinese spy, Chen Xiao Lin. What information does he have and why is the People's Republic of China intent on obtaining it? Caine must overcome personal loyalties as he suspects the identity of the leader of the bioterrorists and sets off to prove his theory before the plague spreads out of control.
Learn more about 'Under A Blood Red Sky" at www.richardacollins.com
_______________________Premise for the novel
The novel is a thriller that focuses on how easy it would be to deliberately contaminate the food chain by introducing an infectious disease into livestock. Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is the most infectious virus known to man and can cause economic devastation in highly intensive farm systems. Raising cattle is a multi-billion dollar a year industry in the United States and takes place on gigantic feedlots housing up to 100,000 head.
FMD has not occurred in the US since 1929.
As a result, cattle in the US are not routinely vaccinated against the disease. This, along with the immense size of the cattle feedlots used to fatten cattle, and the nation's efficient road and rail network, greatly increase the potential for the disease to spread out of control.
The novel envisages a terrifying scenario where a live virus is shipped from an area where FMD is endemic to the US and used as a weapon of bioterrorism. The nature and contents of such a package would be undetectable during shipment. Using only basic microbiological and veterinary skills, and simple equipment ordered over the Internet, a highly effective \\"virus bomb\\" could be prepared easily.
The novel is a prescient warning against complacency, by both big agricultural concerns and governments alike, toward the danger of economic terrorism using biological agents targeting livestock rather than humans.