Adventure Novel Delves Into 1918 Influenza Epidemic

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Using the flu pandemic at the end of World War One as backdrop, Dan Spencer takes readers to New England and Philadelphia in a non-stop adventure that explores the emotional pull of family in times of crisis.

Dan Spencer, whose previous works of historical fiction have been hailed as "excellently crafted" and "moving and memorable," has released his fourth novel in conjunction with Lulu (, the world's fastest-growing provider of print-on-demand books.

Rule of Existence is set during the waning days of World War I. A mysterious disease sweeps the nation. Soldiers are dying from the flu before going overseas - while still in boot camp. With this deadly illness running amok on page one, the gripping story begins.

While volunteering his medical services at an Army cantonment, Dr. Burton Reinhardt learns of his wife's arrest in Washington. Delirious from disease, he leaves camp without approval. He arrives home to find his teenage daughter missing. A government agent then presents an arrest warrant: Burton is absent without leave. Fearful that the entire world is crumbling from war, disease, and madness, Burton escapes the lawman and runs to Philadelphia, where the killer flu has exploded. Thus begins a relentless odyssey to recover his lost family amidst a deadly plague.

Spencer's meticulous research delves into the epidemic, the war overseas, attitudes at home, and the spirit of the times. All this while the breakneck plot sweeps through Philadelphia, Boston, and other locales. But Spencer doesn't forsake character for action.

"The finest stories feature complex main characters," said Spencer. "That's why I chose to create a fallible hero. Burton is alternately righteous and naive, dutiful and derelict, conflicted and indefatigable."

Intriguing, fast-paced, and moving, Rule of Existence presents a harrowing look at a nearly forgotten American epidemic and the lengths some men go to save their imperiled families.


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Dan Spencer

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