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The White Plague

Written By:Frank Herbert - 1982

  • The White Plague  - Frank Herbert cover
  • The White Plague  - Frank Herbert cover

    Ace - July 1987 3rd Printing

  • The White Plague  - Frank Herbert cover

    New English Library - 1984


Ace - July 1987 3rd Printing

A car bomb explodes on a crowded Dublin street... and an American scientist whose wife and children are killed plots a revenge so total that it staggers the imagination. Molecular biologist John Roe O’Neill unleashes a synthesized plague that kills only women. Unstoppable, selective and invariably fatal, it spells the doom of all humankind...

New English Library - 1984

a story of one man’s world-embracing revenge

John Roe O’Neill, molecular biologist, American of Irish descent, saw the car bomb explosion that killed instantly his wife Mary and their twin five-year-olds, Kevin and Mairead.

Physically almost unharmed, a shock wave of blinding, all-engulfing hatred and revulsion seared through his mind. Revulsion not just for the bombers but for a world that could produce such horror.

And he sought revenge on that world, creating and unleashing a plague. Then, as his plague swept the world, bringing not just death but the mad anarchy of terror, he went on a journey where he was forced to see the awfulness of his own handiwork.


A warm day in Dublin, a crowded street corner... Suddenly a car-bomb explodes, killing and injuring scores of innocent people.

From the second-floor window of a building across the street, a visiting American watches, helpless as his beloved wife and children are sacrificed in the heat and fire of someone else's cause.

Ace - July 1987 3rd Printing

"You will think of using atomic sterilization upon the targets of my revenge. Don’t do it. I will turn against you if you do. The plague must run its course in Ireland, Great Britain and Libya. I want the men to survive and to know what it was I did to them. You will be permitted to quarantine them, nothing more. Send their nationals home — all of them. Let them stew there. If you fail to expel so much as a babe in arms who belongs in one of those nations by reason of nationality or birth, you will feel my anger."

The President finished reading O’Neill’s atomic warning...


From this shocking beginning, the author of the phenomenal Dune series has created a new masterpiece... The White Plague

The White Plague is a marvelous and terrifyingly plausible blend of fiction and visionary theme. It tells of one man's revenge, of the man watching from the window who is pushed over the edge of sanity by the senseless murder of his family and who, reappearing several months later as the so-called Madman, unleashes a terrible vengeance upon the human race. For John Roe O'Neill is a molecular biologist, who has the knowledge, and now the motivation, to devise and diseminate a genetically carried plague, a plague to which, like those which scourged mankind centuries ago, there is no antidote, but one which zeros in, unerringly and fatally, on women. As the world slowly recognizes the reality of peril, as its politicians and scientists strive desperately to save themselves and their society from the prospect of human extinction, so does Frank Herbert grapple with one of the great themes of contemporary life: the enormous dangers which lurk at the dark edges of science.

The White Plague is a prophetic, believable and utterly compelling novel.

Ace - July 1987 3rd Printing

Chilling and prophetic! The new novel by the bestselling author of the Dune Books

"A tale of awesome revenge!" —Cincinnati Enquirer

"The author of the bestselling Dune series proves he can be just as compelling when his materials are topical... a thoughtful thriller with a frighteningly plausible premise!" —Publishers Weekly

New English Library - 1984

"a brilliant, brooding meditation on the war between man’s tendencies towards self-destruction and his instinct for self-preservation’ —New York Times