Labyrinth of Terror by Richard P. Wenzel

Nominated for 2010 Library of  Virginia Literary Award in Fiction 

By Richard P. Wenzel

Terror reigns when a string of post-op infections erupts in the sanitized halls of King’s College Hospital in London.  A trio of experts—Microbiology Professor Chris Rose, Jake Evans, an American infectious disease specialist, and Elizabeth Foster, a senior agent with M15—soon realize that the offending organism is a weapon in a worldwide terrorist plot. The terrorists turn their focus on an upcoming medical-legal conference, hoping to infect hundreds and subsequently ravage the global community, as well as those very doctors who might be able to find a cure. Author and physician Richard Wenzel takes us on a riveting, winding journey through Europe and the Middle East, unravels the science of infections, and opens a revealing window on the complex politics of medicine.

About the Author

Richard Wenzel is a physician and former chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia, and like his character, Chris Evans, is an authority on infectious diseases.  Dr. Wenzel draws on his medical knowledge and worldwide experience to tell a story that takes us into the ailing heart of today’s political and social realities. This is his first novel.

Praise for Labyrinth of Terror

“A biological attack is unseen, and by virtue, completely terrifying. Labyrinth of Terror tells the story of the King’s College Hospital in London and the biological attack that has infected numerous post-op patients and seems to spread through the culture. Racing to find a cure and find who is responsible, two biologists and a special agent must race against the clock. Labyrinth of Terror is a fine and solidly recommended read, not to be missed.”    —Midwest Book Review

“Richard Wenzel’s Labyrinth of Terror combines science and suspense in a thrill ride you won’t soon forget. Like Patricia Cornwall and Richard Preston, Wenzel—a world expert on infectious diseases and darn handy with a pen—applies technical detail in just the right measure while his international sleuths (microbiologists and an MI-5 agent) ply the edge of terror to head off a potential virulent epidemic. You won’t put this book down!”

—Dean King, author of Skeletons on the Zahara and Unbound

“This fast paced story of intrigue and bioterror is all too plausible, and it is a page turner.  What makes this fascinating reading is the crucial role of scientists and epidemiologists in place of the usual sleuths in unraveling the who-done-it; there are only a few people in the world who have Richard Wenzel’s deep insight and expertise in this area, and fewer still who could have brought forth a compelling novel out of that knowledge.”     —Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

“At the hands of author Richard Wenzel, today’s fears become tomorrow’s headlines. When antibiotic-resistant pathogens strike a London hospital, researchers suspect the worst: a microbial hacker has manipulated staph cells into a bio-weapon of terrifying potential. American epidemiologist Jake Evans and MI5’s Elizabeth Foster pursue their quarry at a fevered pace, racing like the pulse of one of the infected victims but always a plot twist behind. This is a tale of cross-border intrigue told by a storyteller who knows from the inside the frightening world of infectious diseases and their threat to our society.”     —Nelson D. Lankford, author of Richmond Burning and Cry Havoc!

Labyrinth of Terror, Richard Wenzel’s suspenseful new medical thriller, deals with a threat as real as today’s headlines. The action is nonstop as bioterror and politics collide to produce a rogue designer bacterium, drug-resistant and set to spread.     Microbiologist Chris Rose and Epidemiologist Jake Evans must use all their medical expertise, exploiting cutting-edge technology to trace and understand the illness. But meanwhile, the bacterium’s developers remain at large, preparing to release a pandemic.     Then intelligence officer Elizabeth Foster, whose mission is to find the terrorists and disrupt their plans, enlists the doctors’ help. The three join forces for a heart-stopping chase across two continents, a chase during which Jake falls for the beautiful Elizabeth—hard.
Labyrinth of Terror is a thrilling medical procedural, and so much more, as Wenzel, an internationally recognized epidemiologist, shares his knowledge of how researchers track and contain communicable diseases. Wenzel weaves a riveting medical mystery that takes us right into the lives and minds of today’s microbe-hunters—and also into their hearts.”     —Dierdra McAfee, member, National Book Critics Circle

“In this gripping tale author Richard Wenzel has crafted a frighteningly plausible tale of germs gone wild. Based on his own experience as one of the world’s most respected infectious disease detectives, his story exposes the consequences of what could happen if the microbial survival tactics designed by nature were combined and exploited by human terrorists. Beware—this is not a science fiction novel. It is a sobering reminder of what is possible today.      —Julie L. Gerberding, former director, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 “Labyrinth of Terror is a debut novel written by an infectious disease expert who brings cutting-edge medical and molecular microbiology into his story.  The set-up is simple: there is an outbreak of dangerously antibiotic-resistantStaphyloccal infections at a London hospital, and three characters with complementary areas of expertise work together to find the source and stop the spread.  Early on, there is suspicion that this outbreak is not a natural occurence.  Motivation for the villain(s) is provided by ancient grievances from the Middle East, and author Wenzel spends lots of time going into historical background.”

–Amy Rogers on