In 2030 a virus is hijacked and mutated into a biological weapon. A lab leak results in a deadly encephalitis virus sweeping the world affecting white people. Searching for help for his sick parents, 17-year-old Stephen enters a time shift to Serendib 2131. An advanced civilisation of coloureds who care for brain damaged white people.
The leader and his 15-year-old apprentice Aletheia offer to help Stephen develop an antidote to the encephalitis super-virus. But Stephen must understand the racist attitudes and prejudices that caused the problem. They take him to where his parent’s money comes from. His mother’s ancestors—slave traders in Virginia 1960; and his father’s in the era of the British colonisation in Sri Lanka. Finally, to 2030 to see the plight of refugees in detention centres.
He returns to 2131 determined to change the course of history. Scientists in Serendib can develop a cure and vaccine using Stephen’s body. It is risky. He agrees. And survives. Stephen returns to 2030. His memory of Serendib wiped but he and his parents work on a cure.
Set in the year 2030, 17-year-old Stephen is travelling around Western Australia in a caravan with his Dad and Mum.
This is unusual, as his work obsessed parents don’t normally have time for holidays. When they suddenly get very sick, Stephen discovers that his Dad’s boss has sold his medical research into an encephalitis strain to a company in Europe with links to white supremacy, and his Dad has quit his job in anger. But could it be his work that is causing this catastrophic illness?
When Stephen goes looking for help he comes across a world of advanced humans in the year 2131. However, only coloured people make up the advanced population, as all the white people were brain damaged in the White Plague in 2030. Stephen is shown the truth of how his ancestors came into their money through slavery decades earlier, and how these people can save him and his family and provide them with the tools to go back and cure the White Plague in his time. Hopefully he can even set the world on a path where all people are considered equal.
This is an insightful look at prejudice and racism and the consequences for generations. It is also very timely after our recent experience of a pandemic in our times, and explores how medical research can be used for both good and evil.
With themes of racial intolerance, greed, the power of medicine and the ability for individuals to create positive change in the world, this is a terrific book for all secondary students aged 13 and older.
Reviewed by Rob
Teacher Notes prepared by the publisher are available for this title on our website.