Dublin, Ireland and Richmond, Virginia: separated by thousands of miles - linked by murder. Five dismembered, beheaded bodies were found in Ireland five years ago - now four have been discovered in the States. But the tenth corpse in Virginia is different. A copy-cat killing. Ghoulish, perhaps, but not unusual. Then abject terror grips Scarpetta and her colleagues when the next body is found with a clear and horrifying message: the killer is armed with the most lethal weapon on earth - smallpox.