This book provides insight into how viruses evolve and why global epidemics are inevitable. In 1993 a previously healthy young man was drowning in the middle of a desert, in fluids produced by his own lungs. This was the beginning of the terrifying Sin Nombre hantavirus epidemic and the start of a scientific journey that would forever change our understanding of what it means to be human. After witnessing the Sin Nombre outbreak, Dr Frank Ryan began researching viral evolution and was astonished to discover that it is inextricable from the evolution of all life on Earth. From AIDS and Ebola to the common cold, Ryan explores the role of the virus within every ecosystem on the planet. His gripping conclusions shed new light on the natural world, proving that what doesn’t kill you really does make you (and your species) stronger.

Category: Popular medical non-fiction; Pages 288.


“A fascinating book that is well structured … absorbing … [and] makes an engrossing and fervent argument”   The Inquisitive Biologist

“Extremely well written … Frank Ryan has the page-turning and spine-chilling ability of a good novelist”  Sunday Telegraph

“Ryan is very good at making technical matters comprehensible to the lay reader, but more impressive still is the away he conveys the intellectual excitement and elation of scientific discovery”   Literary Review

“Dr Ryan writes well in a difficult technical field, weaving the technicalities of scientific history, medicine, molecular biology and evolution into the human narratives … Very readable and disturbing”   New York Times




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