Spire, Fiona Snyckers' latest release, was one of those books I went into knowing very little about, yet it grabbed me by its icy fist from the very first page. Caroline is a virologist who has travelled to a remote site on the South Pole to spend the winter conducting experiments on a petrifying arsenal of diseases. She is young, beautiful, accomplished and excited to prove herself. However, from the moment she arrives, things go wrong. Her colleagues start getting sick, exhibiting symptoms eerily similar to the sealed tubes of viruses she has brought with, sealed tubes that have not been tampered with.
When you combine a host of deadly diseases with an enclosed space and freezing weather, catastrophe follows. Here, Fiona could have veered into Robin Cook territory and made this a masculine, play-by-the-numbers thriller. Instead, she takes it somewhere more interesting as Caroline grits her teeth and fights a relentless onslaught of challenges. Who is responsible for the outbreak, if not her? How can she fix this? And how can she get out alive?
Make no mistake, Spire is a quick, addictive read. It's not meant to be overly deep or thoughtful. That being said, I found it an empowering study in female strength and resourcefulness. Caroline shows us how tough women can be, even when the odds aren't in our favour. I love medical dramas, and it was also refreshing to read a thriller with medical detail so thoroughly researched.
I read Spire over the course of one evening - I just had to know what happened next! For that reason, I'd say it is perfect for a plane ride or a holiday read, as long as you're not taking that holiday somewhere in the South Pole!
You can buy Spire here on your Kindle, or you can get the trade paperback in bookstores from 31 May.