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In the winter of 1790, a mysterious and deadly disease strikes the unsuspecting town of Aberdeen. The victims are all women in the prime of life. Determined to save his patients, talented young physician Alec Gordon embarks on an astonishing medical quest. What he discovers will shake the small, close-knit community to the core and change his own life - and that of his wife and young daughter - forever.
Based on a true story, Touching Distance is a stunning historical novel set in Scotland and the West Indies in the Age of Enlightenment. A vivid portrait of a pivotal moment in world history, it is also a universal tale of intimacy and estrangement, reason and passion, corruption and courage.
In 2009, Touching Distance was shortlisted for the McKitterick Prize and won the 2009 Medical Journalists' Association Open Book Award.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Beautifully worked -- a harrowing, atmospheric and fascinating novel, with sound research put to telling use ... shockingly intimate, but with an epic feel.' Hilary Mantel 'A mystery story, a love story, a historical drama -- I can't imagine a reader who would not be moved by this book.' Janice Galloway 'Abrams' accomplished handling of the clash of knowledge and progress with tradition and fear is a great achievement ... Truly enjoyable' Independent on Sunday 'A subtle and moving portrait of a man battling his own limitations, both in terms of scientific knowledge and personality ... With pace and drama, Abrams tells a tale which is at once informative and emotionally rewarding.' Scotsman