Something very different here.
Erica has pancreatic cancer. She has only weeks to live. In desperation, and on the advice of Hilda, once her secretary (until she had to stop work) and now her friend, she turns to Arpan, who twenty years earlier had been a celebrated natural healer specialising in pancreatic cancer but was discredited as the result of a smear campaign by the pharmaceutical companies and the newspapers.
I don’t want to spoil the story for you, so I won’t tell you what happens when he finally agrees to accept her as a patient. But I must tell you that a certain Julia enters the story at this point. Julia works for an international pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland and her predecessor had been instrumental in bringing about Arpan’s disgrace. Now she homes in on Erica, the first person Arpan has treated in twenty years. Why? Because she wants the formula for the elixir Arpan injects into his patients before treating them by his own more spiritual, rieki-like, method. Finally, Erica finds herself in the middle, the go-between. Arpan insists the elixir is nothing, does nothing, it is the rest of the treatment that works. Julia insists the rest of the treatment is mumbo-jumbo, she wants the formula for the elixir, will pay millions for it.
A fascinating look at the reality behind the cancer industry’s fear of and ruthlessness with apparently successful alternative practitioners, and at those practitioners’ helplessness in the face of multinational giants and of the medical establishment for whom anything not strictly in line with their views is heresy. (Oh, the connotations of that word!)
Believable characters – so believable it comes over sometimes like a news story or a documentary – and a totally unexpected ending, which was, I have to say, a little bit puzzling. I still have to work it out and make it fit the rest of the story.