The short stories in Patient Zero are part of Terry Tyler’s Project Renova series. They add to the two books “Tipping Point” and “Lindisfarne” but they can successfully be read without knowledge of, or before reading one or both of the novels.
A deadly virus, nicknamed Bat Fever has appeared in 2024. Despite vaccination gradually being offered around the country, many people have died, though some seem immune. For several years, an underground group known as Unicorn have been suspicious of the government and now they believe that the virus may have been deliberately spread.
The unfair way in which the vaccination is distributed is highlighted in the first story when Jared is given a vial by his uncle who works for a drug company. He is also given a spare vial. Should he give it to his girlfriend Angelina even though he suspects she may be unfaithful to him? Later in the book, in the story of Evie, we meet her boyfriend Nick Greenaway, a high achieving, non-stop socialite who proudly displays his wristband to prove he has been vaccinated on social media. Does he deserve Evie’s devotion?
One character, Jeff was well prepared for an apocalypse. He had a bunker built and well stocked away from civilisation and finally when he was 65, the epidemic arrived. He planned to live alone but two of the underground group Unicorn joined him. When they moved on, he decided to seek out other survivors and this is when his life really began. In total contrast, Flora or Princess Snowflake, her more apt name, has been brought up as a chosen child. Spoilt and isolated by her “Christian,” kind parents, their character changes as civilisation breaks down. She is totally unable to cope on her own, but she maintains her positive attitude.
There are other stories of disparate characters, all subject to fate and their own actions. There is no right way to deal with a country in chaos, but their beliefs and habits dictate how they react. This fascinating book of stories has one fault. It isn’t long enough to tell even more individual stories. If you haven’t read the other two books, “Patient Zero” would make a good introduction. If you have read them then you mustn’t miss these stories.