A missing canister of a deadly virus. A lab technician bleeding from the eyes. Toni Gallo, the security director of a Scottish medical research firm, knows she has problems, but she has no idea of the nightmare to come.
As a Christmas Eve blizzard whips out of the north, several people converge on a remote family house. Stanley Oxenford, the research company’s director, has everything riding on the drug he is developing to fight the virus – but he isn’t the only one: His grown children, who have come to spend Christmas, have their eyes on the money it will bring.
Toni Gallo, forced to resign from the police department in disgrace, is betting her career on keeping the drug safe; a local television reporter, determined to move up, has sniffed the story, even if he has to bend the facts to tell it; and a violent trio of thugs is on its way to steal it for a client already waiting – though what the client really has in mind is something that will shock them all.
As the storm worsens, the emotional sparks – jealousies, distrust, sexual attraction, rivalries – crackle; desperate secrets are revealed; hidden traitors and unexpected heroes emerge…
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- “Everyone likes a page-turner, and Follett is the best.” — Philadelphia Inquirer
- “This is gasp-a-minute stuff by a vintage practioner of terror” — Carla McKay, Daily Mail
- “Follett’s nail-biter ending drags readers to the very edge of their seats and holds them captive until the last villain is satisfactorily dispatched.” — Publishers Weekly
- “This exciting book is the best to come from Follett in a long while.” — Leslie McGill, Kansas City Star
- “On a par with the best of James Patterson and Nelson De Mille, Ken Follett injects the thrill and chill in his latest thriller.” — Harriet Klausner, www.amazon.com
- A Christmas Eve blizzard makes the roads in Scotland almost impassable. So when a deadly virus is stolen from Oxenford Medical, the police have as much difficulty pursuing as the thieves have in escaping. This exciting book is the best to come from Follett in a long while. — Leslie McGill, Kansas City Star, 21 November 2004.
- Bestseller Follett sets his sights on biological terrorism, pumping old-school adrenaline into this new breed of thriller. Ex-policewoman Antonia “Toni” Gallo, head of security at a boutique pharmaceuticals company, has discovered that two doses of an experimental drug – developed as a potential cure for the deadly Madoba-2 virus – have vanished from her top-secret laboratory.
This mystery is a precursor to a more serious crime being planned by Kit Oxenford, the gambling-addicted son of the company’s founder, Stanley Oxenford. Kit, deeply in debt to mobster Harry Mac, sees a raid on his father’s lab as a chance to score enough money to disappear and start anew in another country. Some characters are a bit familiar – the pesky, unprincipled journalist; the imbecilic police detective – but others, the mobster’s psychopathic daughter in particular, show idiosyncratic originality.
After a long buildup, the burglary is set in motion, and Kit’s best-laid plans begin to fall apart. Eventually, good guys and bad guys end up at the Oxenford family estate, trapped in the house by a fierce snowstorm as they battle one another over the material stolen from the laboratory. A romance between the recently widowed Stanley and Toni and the unexpected addition of Toni’s comically addled mother thicken the plot as Follett’s agonizingly protracted, nail-biter ending drags readers to the very edge of their seats and holds them captive until the last villain is satisfactorily dispatched. — Publishers Weekly, 15 November 2004.
- Toni Gallo is the facilities director at Oxenford Medical where the owner invented an anti-viral vaccine. Toni runs security. While making a routine check she finds a vial of the viral serum missing. She tracks it to an employee who stole a rabbit infected with Madoba-2 a variant of Ebola, but worse. The employee is dying from the rabbit’s bite as the serum does not work on Madoba-2. While Toni and her employer Stanley Oxenford perform public damage control, his son Kit plans to break into the lab and steal the serum.
Toni caught Kit stealing from the company to pay off his gambling debts and his father fired him even though he did a superb job of creating the security system for the firm. Kit owes over $250K to nasty people; the only way he can pay his debt is to steal and sell the viral serum. What he fails to understand is that the buyer is uninterested in the cure; he wants Madoba-2. Stranded at his parents’ home by a blizzard, Kit must choose between his confederates or his family.
Whiteout is a frightening thriller because it shows no one is totally safe even with top notch fail-safe security systems and processes to control laboratory viruses and bacteria. Toni is an independent strong-willed woman who risks her life to insure that the criminals do not escape with the deadly virus. On a par with the best of James Patterson and Nelson De Mille, Ken Follett injects the thrill and chill in his latest thriller. — Harriet Klausner, www.amazon.com
Whiteout by Ken Follett — Macmillan, London, 15 October 2004
Sneet Inde in Denmark by J.W. Cappelens Forlag in February 2005
Peur Blanche in France by Robert Laffont in January 2005
Eisfieber in Germany by Lübbe in September 2005
Nel bianco in Italy by Mondadori in September 2004
Hvitt på Hvitt in Norway by Cappelen in November 2004
En el blanco in Spain by Grijalbo in February 2005
Sneeuwjacht in Dutch by Uitgeverij Unieboek in February 2005
Also published in many other languages, and available as an audiobook and as an ebook.
Eisfieber was filmed in Germany in 2010, starring Heiner Lauterbach as Stanley Oxenford and Isabella Ferrari as Toni.
See the Filmography pages for more information.