The sad thing about humanity is that at some point in our life it will come to an end. I’m sure many want to life long and fruitful lives and not have a life snuffed out early. It is just another factor that some of us will die from disease, murder or even combat.
The book, The Dragon and the Needle by Author Hugh Franks, will take the reader into a world where people are dying through natural causes. The problem these are relatively healthy people and many are politicians or family members. One of those who are found dead is even the daughter of the United States President within the book. They are dying and meeting their end through a disease called Extraordinary Natural Death Syndrome, or the acronym of ENDS.
The book is told from the British experience and involves not just MI5, but the leadership of the government. The world’s health agencies are actively searching for the cause of ENDS and the deaths have been occurring at an alarming rate. There is no evidence on how the people have been killed but, the experts just know it is untimely wrong for the deaths to be happening. The fact it is the elite dying of course puts massive pressure and money into finding out why, and who may be to blame.
The book starts with a seemingly mundane car ride through the busy streets of London. A car ride that has the driver taking off before the passenger can even get the paper he purchased from a sidewalk vendor. The events seem nothing to extraordinary at this point as the setting just seems normal till something unexpected takes a turn and adds a light of danger that will run through the book. The event will send a shockwave into the investigation of ENDS and put all the pressure on one young British doctor.
The doctor, Mike Clifford, will have to follow in the footsteps of his mentor to unravel what is causing the disease. He will follow the notes and meet the well-known American acupuncturist, Eleanor Johnson, who may be able to help with his investigation. Eleanor having studied in China the art of acupuncture after her husband was murdered in a subway when they lived in the US. There will be some friction between the two at first, and some would say a bit “prickly” as west meets east in the medical discussions. They will both have to put aside their misgivings to work toward finding out what ENDS is, and who is causing the deaths.
The Dragon and the Needle is a really good read. Author Hugh Franks does a great job of showing the reader how the prejudice of Eastern medicine could be hurting the western world. There are things that either side does not understand about the benefits of the use of both kinds of medicine. On top of this lesson there is a wide reaching cause of the disease and shows how the world must understand each other. I say this as to me it seems the fault in all of humanity, pride, comes into play within the pages of the book.
The characters are well developed and there is plenty of intrigue with the pages. There is some old fashioned cloak and dagger type of spying as well as background checks on both doctors. These experiences are told through Eleanor as she must be vetted by the US and British secret service agencies. This is what makes the book so enjoyable the ability for author Hugh Franks to capture the detail of so much and keep the story on point till its conclusion.