Readers of Ann Benson's bestselling The Plague Tales will bond immediately with this sequel and its unusual blend of historical romance and futuristic medical thriller. The book begins in 14th-century France--a country ravished by a war with the English, and also suffering from the deadly effects of the plague. A Spanish-Jewish physician named Alejandro Canches searches for a cure; he scribes a medical manuscript along the way.|
The Burning Road then moves to a town in Massachusetts in the year 2007, where another Doctor, Janie Crowe is fighting her own battle to cure sickness and disease. She looks to Canches's manuscript, his "Book of Cures," for clues.
Benson skillfully shows us the small details of everyday life and the events that both connect and separate these two doctors as they struggle with medical and personal problems. Canches seems to have isolated the cause of the bubonic plague, but his work is interrupted by battles with French troops and by worries about the safety of his foster daughter Kate (who is the illegitimate daughter of England's King Edward III). Meanwhile, Dr. Crowe is on the verge of a major breakthrough with a terrible genetic disease that afflicts Jewish boys.
The alchemy and magic may not be for every taste, but by linking her two physicians through 600 years of what passes for progress, Benson gives her strange hybrid a uniquely gripping aura.
Source: Dick Adler, Amazon.com.