If the twenty-first century seems an unlikely stage for the return of a 14th-century killer, the authors of Return of the Black Death argue that the plague, which vanquished half of Europe, has only lain dormant, waiting to emerge again—perhaps, in another form. At the heart of their chilling scenario is their contention that the plague was spread by direct human contact (not from rat fleas) and was, in fact, a virus perhaps similar to AIDS and Ebola. Noting the periodic occurrence of plagues throughout history, the authors predict its inevitable re-emergence sometime in the future, transformed by mass mobility and bioterrorism into an even more devastating killer.
Thomas Hardy was an English novelist and poet. "The Return of the Native" illustrates the tragic potential of romantic illusion and how its protagonists fail to recognize their opportunities to control their own destinies. Tempestuous Eustacia Vye passes her days dreaming of passionate love and the escape it may bring from the small community of Egdon Heath. Hearing that Clym Yeobright is to return from Paris, she sets her heart on marrying him, believing that through him she can leave rural life and find fulfilment elsewhere. But Clym has dreams of his own, and they have little in common with Eustacia's. Their unhappy marriage causes havoc in the lives of those close to them: Damon Wildeve, Eustacia's former lover, Clym's mother and his cousin Thomasin.