A disease far deadlier than AIDS has infected the land and claimed the lives of millions. Known as both Spermatic Fever and Sacred Fire - after the medieval plague to which it bears a terrifying resemblance - it is caused by a mutant strain of HIV that attaches itself to DNA molecules in sperm cells and unleashes a deadly fever for which there is no known cure. America is in panic. If the country is to survive, there seems only one option: male sexuality must be outlawed.
With that chilling premise, scientifically plausible in every particular, this new medical thriller by Isi Beller ushers us into an age of darkness just one generation from now. Fear of the Sacred Fire epidemic has swollen Washington's power and extended the government's reach deep into the minds of citizens everywhere. In grim resignation, Americans obey a new amendment to the Constitution that rips the heart out of the Bill of Rights and establishes the dictates of the New Order: all children are to be conceived in eugenics centers and brought to term in womb simulators; all men are to be implanted with failproof electronic sex inhibitors called ASPs (Anti-Sex Programs); and, until science provides a cure, all spermatic exchanges must be considered lethal. The fearsome Federal Bureau of Biological Supervision is founded to ensure that these provisions are followed to the letter.
Beller's vision of America reveals a country cowed by superstition, numbed by repression, driven backward by technology. Slowly but surely, basic human rights and instincts have been turned into transgressions, and memories of free choice, physical contact, and romance grow dim.
But not all Americans are willing to forget. An underground network of misfits and malcontents takes root. Inspired by the principle that freedom alone will lead us to understand the retrovirus - a life-form that has baffled humanity since HIV first appeared in the early 1980s - Mafia chieftains join forces with sculptors, L.A. street gangs with East Coast intellectuals, scientists with hellfire millenarians. They all pin their hopes on the secret message contained within a single RNA formula, and on the one scientist who knows how to decode its true significance.
Breathless techno-thriller and spellbinding romance, Sacred Fire splices Orwell to Atwood, Crichton to Huxley, and takes readers deep into the rich mysteries of human chemistry.
What people are saying - Write a review
SACRED FIREUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
From psychoanalyst and clinician Beller comes this medical thriller set in the not too distant future, a time when the virus that causes AIDS has mutated into a new retrovirus that literally burns its ... Read full review
Sacred FireUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
It is one generation from now. HIV has mutated into a retrovirus called Sacred Fire that burns its victims alive in fever. America, fearing that humans face extinction, implements startling laws. Men ... Read full review