Interesting Historical Fiction Spotlighting Medical Advances
In Search of the Animalcule
By Steven L. Berk, M. D.
At a Vienna hospital in 1847, Jacob Pfleger became an orphan within hours of his birth. His mother, a rarity in that she was a female obstetrician, knew she was going to die of postpartum fever due to her symptoms. Before her last breath, she demanded her son be sent to the local orphanage. There he spent the next twelve years learning as much as he could while trying to survive the brutality of the staff and older children.
Jacob is a gifted and inquisitive boy. He reads everything he can get his hands on and is a keen observer. When Jacob learns from a friend of his late mother that his father is alive and living in France as a winemaker, he is determined to find him. Once he arrives, he is welcomed, but his family has been experiencing hard times due to something that is making their wine bad after the fermenting process. Louis Pasteur arrives to investigate the problem, wakening the love of scientific procedures that Jacob always suspected were at the root of his mother’s death and many other medical problems. Thus begins his journey around the world seeking answers and learning from the most famous doctors and scientists throughout his life, including Joseph Lister and Robert Koch.
I really enjoyed following Jacob’s story and meeting the list of Who’s Who of medicine pioneers. Their work was the stepping stones to the medical procedures we have today. Just think of everyone that has had a medical procedure with their healthcare providers wearing gloves and masks or had an infection that required an antibiotic. We have come much further than the workings of the late 1800s and early 1900s, but it is very interesting to learn of the great men and women of yesteryear.
Author Steven Berk MD is a board-certified expert in infectious diseases, is the Executive VP of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and the Dean of School of Medicine. He has written five medical books and an award-winning work of fiction, Anatomy of Kidnapping, which I plan to add to my to-be-read list. I highly recommend In Search of the Animalcule. It is a fast and interesting work of historical fiction.
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from publicist Maryglen Warnock and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2023 Laura Hartman