There’s a war brewing in America, one simmering just below the surface but ready to explode. Captain Daniel Ash, his family, and the other 56 residents of Baker Flats military base find themselves at ground zero of that war one horrible night when hell descends upon their little corner of the world.
Awakened by a cry from his daughter, Ash goes to her room expecting to find her upset from a nightmare. Instead, he finds the girl burning with a dangerously high fever. As he struggles to get her into a cold tub he calls out to his wife for assistance, but gets no response.
Leaving his daughter in the slowly filling tub he returns to his bedroom and finds his wife still in bed. Dead. Panic now flooding in, Ash races to his son’s room and finds him apparently unaffected by whatever killed his wife and has made his daughter dangerously ill.
As he huddles in the bathroom with his two children Ash makes a frantic call to 911 pleading for help, but when it finally arrives it is not what Ash had expected, and his life will never be the same again.
Instead of paramedics or police officers, a team of men in full biohazard gear bursts into the Ash house, bundling Ash and his children outside and into an isolation truck. The scene that greets him as he exists his home is something out of a Hollywood film, as Ash realizes there are similar vehicles and teams of men in biohazard gear deployed throughout the neighborhood, seemingly at every house. Before he can fully process what’s going on he is spirited off to a containment facility, where he is separated from his kids and subsequently informed they have died as a result of exposure to a highly deadly virus.
After over a week in isolation, communicating only with a disembodied voice from a speaker in the ceiling, Ash is slipped a note with his morning meal one day which contains a single cryptic word written on it: TONIGHT. What follows that evening is a daring breakout from the facility with the assistance of two mysterious men whom do not identify themselves to Ash, but hustle him to the outskirts of the facility and give him instructions on how to proceed from there. Ash eventually meets up with the people behind his escape and is informed that though the virus was intentionally released, it wasn’t done by terrorists. Not only that, but contrary to what Ash was told his children are still alive, being studied to determine what made them immune to the virus. And with that Ash is off on a mission to not only rescue his children, but to help stop the people behind the virus from unleashing it upon the world.
Author Brett Battles has outdone himself with Sick. Always a master of plot and pacing, Battles ratchets the intensity and sense of urgency in Sick up to levels so thick you could cut it with a knife. Though military, Ash is no Rambo. He’s a man driven by emotion not machismo, and it is easy to identify with his single-minded goal of rescuing his children at all costs. He’s a man on a mission, and woe be it to anyone who gets in his way. Add to that a great subplot involving a team of reporters hot on the scent of the story the public is not being told, fueled in part by a cell phone video uploaded onto YouTube which appears to show civilians being killed by military, and Battles has set the stage for a pulse-pounding thriller that rockets to a classic showdown between Ash and the man behind the virus. But as this is merely the first book in the Project Eden series, though Ash eventually brings this particular battle to an end, the war rages on.