In 1854, when a cholera epidemic erupts in India and travels a killing route west toward London, noted anesthesiologist Dr. John Snow dedicates himself to discovering the source of the devastating disease. His work takes him from London's upper-class residences to the destitution of the heat-choked city's whorehouses; his unorthodox theory of contagion gains him enemies in the scientific establishment, and among those who have their own more sinister reasons for wanting the disease to run its course.
Snow's research also brings him to Indian-born Lillian Anysworth, a beautiful and haunted woman. Her protective father having fallen victim to cholera, Lillian leaves her native country to escape the disease and her scandalous history. Both the epidemic and the secrets of her past follow her to London, where she aids Snow in his investigation, knowing all the while that the answer he could discover might destroy their future together. In the name of both science and love, John and Lillian risk their reputations, their livelihoods, and even their lives to defend their medical discoveries.
From the exotic and deadly colony of India to the stricken capital of Victoria's empire, The Drummer was the First to Die is a masterful tale of desire, destruction, and redemption. Based on a true story, this lush and gripping medical thriller laced with romance establishes Liza Pennywitt Taylor as a bright new voice in fiction.