Doctor Therne foreshadows modern conventions in techno-thrillers with a documentary-style frame holding a confessional narrative from a mad scientist obsessed with one of the great issues of his day . . . in this case, vaccination against epidemic diseases like smallpox. His personal fears meet the tragic legacy of other doctors' careless ignorance and spawn a malignant crusade against vaccination that will ultimately create many more victims. H. Rider Haggard writes to alarm and educate his public, and creates a very engaging villain to carry his message. How long can a cowardly manipulator hide his dishonesty?
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