By Thomas Goetz
In the late 19th century, tuberculosis was responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths worldwide. Rich and poor, young and old, no one was safe. Rumors of a possible cure sent thousands of desperate patients to Germany — and aroused the curiosity of an English country doctor (and aspiring writer) named Arthur Conan Doyle.
He traveled to Berlin to learn more about the alleged remedy and its creator, Robert Koch, a detail-mad perfectionist. What Doyle witnessed, however, was the unraveling of both Koch’s career and the hope of a cure.
Former Wired executive editor Goetz weaves the suspense of a Sherlock Holmes mystery into a tale of ambition, obsession, scientific discovery and skepticism at the dawn of modern medicine. — Gemma Tarlach