Plague Maker: Helping Prevent
Assist News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) -- It’s not often you can
read a timely, spine-tingling novel that while keeping you riveted
from beginning to end also provides some important lessons about
Plague Maker is such a book.
The book’s cover reads, “New York City, July 4. Millions
gather for the city’s famous fireworks display. But the
dazzling finale rains down a host of plague-carrying fleas to
infect the city’s rats and, from there, humans. That’s
the horrifying what-if scenario behind this ... tale. The stakes
are high when a volatile FBI agent named Nathan Donovan, his terrorism-expert
ex-wife Macy Armitstead, and a mysterious and refined Chinese
Christian gentleman named Li Ming are pitted against Syrian terrorists
and an elderly Japanese biological weapons expert with a decades-old
However, there is so much more to Plague Maker than
just bio terror. In a recent interview, I asked Downs about the
He said that while it is ostensibly about a plague, it is also
about people who have to face up to their personal demons.
“One man took the path of anger and vengeance and is destroyed
by it,” Downs said, “and the other was redeemed.”
Because Downs is such a skillful story teller, people who buy
this book expecting a thriller will not be disappointed. But as
they read “for the thrill of it,” they will also be
exposed to a profound and powerful message about marriage.
“There are all kinds of people who will never read a marriage
book,” Downs said. They read (a book like mine) because
of the entertainment. The power of messages comes through the
art, and not the heavy handedness. That is the most powerful way
for us to communicate, through the subtlety of art.”
Downs said the bio terrorism theme of the book was very appropriate
when dealing with marital issues, because it reminded him of another
dangerous enemy; a concept he’s dubbed “marital terrorism.”
“What we fear from terror are unseen threats that come
out of nowhere and destroy us,” Downs said. “I see
the same thing in marriage. Things can come out of nowhere and
wipe us out. We need to be on guard.”
In addition to being a book about a plague, Downs said, the novel
focuses on forgiveness. “Each person in the book has an
issue about forgiveness. Is the bad guy going to forgive? Each
has a decision to make.”
Marriage is about forgiveness, Downs said. “Forgiveness
is the central issue of life. Forgiveness is the only way a person
can approach God. It’s the only way that couples can stay
in a marriage – through extending the supernatural art of
As a marriage seminar speaker, Downs said, “marital terrorism”
is a theme he deals with all the time.
“Marriage is being attacked by a series of unseen forces
that you have never seen before,” Downs said. “Your
mate is not there for your recreational enjoyment. They play a
very important – and sometimes painful – goal in your
life. Marriage is the last chance that God gives you to grow up.”
Couples need to slow down and enjoy the marriage process, Downs
But, he added, “It is tough to slow down and value (such
a ) journey, (where) I am being reformed, improved, or changed.”
He added, “I don't think of it as a hurdle,” but
admitted, “We don't handle conflict well in marriage. Men
see conflict as failure (and think) ‘I must be doing something
wrong, because this is dirty.’ We don't want to get involved
in the complexities of a woman. This is a lot of the mysterious
stuff that makes up marriage.”
Here’s a sampling of a few lines from Plague Maker.
Although I have read them countless times, these words from one
of the book’s main characters to another continue to touch
“I once loved a young woman once-more than most people
can possibly imagine. I lost her, Nathan, and when I did my life
became a series of endless regrets: things I could have said,
things I could have done. It’s quite amazing, the clarity
of vision that death brings with it. But the mind is like that,
isn't it? You never remember the thing you've forgotten until
the door clicks shut behind you.
“So here you both are, with things left unsaid and things
left undone. But it’s not too late for you; the door is
still open. So I'm here to plead with you both – talk with
one another, say what needs to be said and do what needs to be
done before it’s too late. Please believe me – no
matter how painful it may be, if you leave these things undone
your regrets will be far more painful later.”
With that in mind, I strongly recommend you buy “Plague
Maker” when it’s available in Jan. 2006. It’s
an intense, riveting, deeply emotional and yet gently instructional
read that is well worth the investment of your time and money.
For more information about Plague Maker and author Tim
Downs, go to www.timdowns.net
Jeremy Reynalds is a freelance writer and the founder and
director of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless
shelter. He is married with five children and lives in Albuquerque,
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