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Coley's Toxins

William B Coley

William B Coley cured 198 out of 200 research subjects with various, often advanced cancers in the 1890's, yet treatment using killed bacteria which caused an immune reaction and fever, demanded intensive nursing care and could not be easily controlled at the time. Anti-biotics, which according to one medical source, 'would reverse the high fever in half an hour', had not been developed in that era.

Illness and treatment is a heavy subject which often divides families and leads to litigation or public outcry. In many aspects the world of medicine reflects at one and the same time the very best and worst of the society it purports to cure. The sub-plot story behind the main action of the historical novel, FEVER THERAPY by Jim Burnside reflects that conundrum. Ostensibly Coley did find a cure for cancer, apparently more effective than anything developed since. Proponents of that same treatment now, one hundred and twenty years later, say that it is not used (it is on research status in the USA) because of pharmaceutical company vested interests. Researchers know exactly how and why the immune reaction kills the cancer but pharmaceutical companies with patent options just can’t make money out of such a simple and effective treatment.

Some questions seem too contentious to even broach: such as, 'How do we get rid of nuclear weapons?'

Is this one of them?

The question is how do we establish health industries which actually cure people as effectively as possible; as opposed to depending upon their continuing illness and possible demise? Let’s be absolutely clear – that is what happens. That is precisely why they give a patient an injection costing $12,000 that doesn’t work long term; as opposed to one costing $40 that just might. 


Your story is extremely poignant and beautifully written.

A great read which presents strongly portrayed characters facing life changing dilemmas. The descriptive passages bring to life the beauty of 19th century rural Scotland and the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh streets. Romance and heartache are at the heart of the book, but there are also more heavyweight themes running through the writing probing ideas which resonate in 2014. How far is society run for the benefit of greedy commercial interests? What chance have the poor and unconnected of getting justice? Most explosively of all the story probes the vested interests in the medical world which undermine and block treatments which might revolutionise cancer treatment. The ending of this novel is a triumph of tension and humour - it creeps up on the reader and brings together threads of the narrative brilliantly, leaving us wanting to read more of John Harper.

Thanks Liz, your approval of my debut story means more to me than I can say. I hope Harper doesn't let you down too badly. For a smart and successful guy he tends to be introspective. In the real world, at least three hundred people were cured by Coley's Toxins within the 1890's. By all accounts W B Coley's superiors at Sloane Kettering Hospital in New York ruined the man's career. Yet the message did get through. I understand the main hospitals in Philadelphia used his treatment by default for cancer patients up until the 1990s.

I pretty much learned all I know about writing from my Dad and Fever Therapy is a funny, heart-wrenching and well researched novel about John Harper and his wife, Hannah - the first in a six part series, Going Home. For the marvellous price of £3.99, you can download Jim Burnside's first novel to your kindle in a matter of seconds or alternatively you can order a paper copy for £10.49! What better way to spend a miserable, rainy Sunday? You can download a sample for free, too

Laughing as they drank, some offered gruesome anecdotes of ghosts, murders and executions. Others pointed to the nearby locale of mass graves or the pounding of the devil’s carriage; even the position of houses demolished in desperation to give a field of fire upon the besieging English. Resolving any doubt that they lived in the stage-set of Scotland’s tortured past - the view from the upstairs back window was of Edinburgh Castle itself! What could give greater security – a legendary, almost biblical sense of time and place, a flourishing modernist dénouement to St Margaret’s millennium, as the turn of the twentieth century approached?

Rona Hendry’s world was framed in those windows. Each momentous event of the passing years had been seen, or could be imagined unravelling against that wondrous backdrop. Deveron was murmuring music to Rona - mystery, passion of the soul. There were wooded banks where lovers walked in the sunset. All the water in the glowering skies and crouching mountains had passed by Rona’s windows at some point in her twenty three years. She knew as she gazed, that although she would forever be inspired to longing; there would always be comfort in homecoming. No sage had ever taught a finer or more profound lesson than the river Deveron. It was love, life, death and forgiveness. It was laughing, dancing eternity – with her arms open to smilingly embrace her children. This was why the salmon returned - every movement of their strong tails was an affirmation of what Rona saw. The land and all its creatures were to her the kneeling celebrant – sky and river, the divine hand of consecration. These men were ignorant, unimpressed – they never even looked. Or maybe they looked but just couldn’t see it. They moved too fast and they spoke too low. They lacked the tempered assurance of locals, tuned to the reflected beauty all around. Neither had the glistening puppy-dog enthusiasm of travellers returning to this Caledonian Shangri-la. Garner and Wilson were not part of Rona’s serene picture, nor were they were seeking absolution.

With its relatively diverse and thriving economy John knew that Morayshire represented what little was left of the real Highland lifestyle. Clearances elsewhere had shattered towns, leaving them in ruin. Cattle had been replaced by sheep. The farmers had been driven away. Natural diversity, the symbiosis of people with land, was now utterly destroyed and forgotten. The Garden of Eden had finally become a wasteland. The Highlands were now devoid of flowers and insects; birdsong; dogs barking at laughing children; of people working and living. Caledonia was bereft of the good people who had truly belonged here, borne of this land. One fine summer week in ’86, when he had pulled a ligament working in the forge and Alex had stepped in for him, Harper had ridden with Zachariah north westward into the stunning glens above Dornoch. Near the roadside above the loch he saw a torn fraction of regally patterned wallpaper, clinging tenuously to the face of a blackened stone. A hint of grimed gold sheltered from rain by hopeful rye grass lay kissing the impoverished earth. The vain hope of it pierced the young man like a bayonet in his gut.

Dear KDP Author, Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost $2.50. The new paperback cost 25 cents – it was ten times cheaper. Readers loved the paperback and millions of copies were sold in just the first year. With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to afford to buy and read books, you would think the literary establishment of the day would have celebrated the invention of the paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and circled the wagons. They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers had to use unconventional methods of distribution – places like newsstands and drugstores. The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if “publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.” Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion. Well… history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Fast forward to today, and it’s the e-book’s turn to be opposed by the literary establishment. Amazon and Hachette – a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate – are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market – e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive. Perhaps channeling Orwell’s decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn’t only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette’s readers. The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the position that lower e-book prices will “devalue books” and hurt “Arts and Letters.” They’re wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the contrary, paperbacks ended up rejuvenating the book industry and making it stronger. The same will happen with e-books. Many inside the echo-chamber of the industry often draw the box too small. They think books only compete against books. But in reality, books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive. Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that’s 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger. But when a thing has been done a certain way for a long time, resisting change can be a reflexive instinct, and the powerful interests of the status quo are hard to move. It was never in George Orwell’s interest to suppress paperback books – he was wrong about that. And despite what some would have you believe, authors are not united on this issue. When the Authors Guild recently wrote on this, they titled their post: “Amazon-Hachette Debate Yields Diverse Opinions Among Authors” (the comments to this post are worth a read). A petition started by another group of authors and aimed at Hachette, titled “Stop Fighting Low Prices and Fair Wages,” garnered over 7,600 signatures. And there are myriad articles and posts, by authors and readers alike, supporting us in our effort to keep prices low and build a healthy reading culture. Author David Gaughran’s recent interview is another piece worth reading. We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies. Some have suggested that we “just talk.” We tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store. Since then Amazon has made three separate offers to Hachette to take authors out of the middle. We first suggested that we (Amazon and Hachette) jointly make author royalties whole during the term of the dispute. Then we suggested that authors receive 100% of all sales of their titles until this dispute is resolved. Then we suggested that we would return to normal business operations if Amazon and Hachette’s normal share of revenue went to a literacy charity. But Hachette, and their parent company Lagardere, have quickly and repeatedly dismissed these offers even though e-books represent 1% of their revenues and they could easily agree to do so. They believe they get leverage from keeping their authors in the middle. We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know making books more affordable is good for book culture. We’d like your help. Please email Hachette and copy us. Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch: Copy us at: Please consider including these points: - We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive. - Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did. - Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle. - Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue. Thanks for your support. The Amazon Books Team

You guys are the extreme and no-one likes you, so your patronising message won't fool any serious writers. The average published author in the UK earns £11,000 - not even a subsistence amount. A narrowly defined, self serving industry in which you are overly influential limits and warps the nature of submissions to appeal to an ever more conditioned clientèle. It's all about brief visual impressions, often subject to the whims of fashion. In the main you get what you help create - a plethora of sexualised, violent rubbish, poorly produced and selected for ratings on the basis of how it may translate into film or television. I am quite certain that there is a balance point on pricing - but its much closer to the people you are trying to undercut than where you are. In your biased missive you do not even take into account the blood, sweat and tears that go into writing or publishing - that you take for granted. This attitude is insulting. You condition the public to value books on the level of a fourth-rate discounted burger, purchased from a grubby high street store. You have no ethical values other than the logic of increasing your own market share. You have no right to cite Orwell for that matter (even if he was wrong about paperback) as he happened to be a man of 'principle' - something I imagine you would fail to understand entirely, even if you took the trouble to look it up in the dictionary. Save your invective for your shareholders and advertising sponsors. Jim Burnside 9.8.2014

Ingrams Lightning Source International don't sell ebooks into Amazon or ibooks etc but neglected to mention this minor point until I had published my latest paperback with them. HANNAH DUFF, ISBN 978-0-9929711-1-3. I have been waiting for over a week for IngramSpark to reopen my dormant account. They told me, 'open a new account with a different email address' as they had deleted me because I went with their sister company, Ingram's LSI. I insisted they sort it out and proposed to recommend the virtually monopolistic opposition or I'm certain they would have continued messing me around.They took eight days to let me register again, whereas CreateSpace took ten minutes to do the same (reopen an unused account). I imagine to some degree these difficulties arise from years of Book Wars between major American publishers and no doubt the strategy of the larger is to run down the Independent until they are no longer viable, or become a corporate bargain to asset strip. I am pleased that IngramSpark finally came through for me but they need to get their act together. Why don't they recommend both accounts to new clients? On a more serious note, how long before publishing options and incentives are potentially as narrow as in the Cold War Soviet Union? Perhaps we take too much for granted.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews A Masterfully Drawn, Beautiful tale of Love, Loss and Redemption. By Maccie1986 on 16 Sep 2014 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase Just finished reading the excellent "Fever Therapy" which is part one of the promised "Going Home" series from new author, Jim Burnside. It was a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable read. The principal story line deals with the tumultuous and tragic fight against cancer of the protagonists wife, Hannah, whilst our hero, John Harper, juggles his family life and career as an astute and tough police man on the streets of Edinburgh in the 1890's. Whilst Hannah desperately battles the illness, Harper tries to uncover the truth behind an intriguing conspiracy focused on counterfeiting gangs operating in the cosmopolitan city.The authors' strengths lie principally in his uncanny eye for characterisation of both people and places. The bustling metropolis of Edinburgh at the end of the 19th century is contrasted with the stunningly drawn Highlands in a way which reminds me of the masterful eye-for-location epitomised by Steinbeck's love for California.The principal and indeed even minor characters are imbued with myriad complexity and depth - each character filling the minds eye as the author describes his or her background, makeup and secret motivations on a par with some of my favourite characterisation from the likes of the great John le Carre. The story builds with a compelling pace through twists and turmoil towards an uplifting and satisfying conclusion, and the first chapter of the next book in the series was included as a nice "amuse bouche" which merely whets the appetite for more of the same. 10/10

Thank you from my heart. These guys happen to be two of the greatest authors of modern times. Steinbeck the vigilant idealist of dreaming America; Le Carre the sophisticated conscience of hoary Britannia when she scrapped her ships and went clubbing.

Jim I keep meaning to tell you I loved your book. Finished it about a month ago. The Scottish setting was so well depicted, I felt like I was watching a period drama. In fact it should be one. But the roller coaster in relationships, the politics in the establishments... Well they never change no matter how advanced we get. I never knew of this treatment. Real eye opener. Made me think of the leap in faith and challenge one has to face to try anything alternative in attempt to survive. In the first half I enjoyed reading of the charming couple Hannah & Harper and their beautiful family (age wise could really relate to them); and later the pace completely accelerated as the fever therapy began and the plot with the police. The twist at the end was joyful. I was just as stunned as Harper ... Didn't see it coming. But it brought the plots together perfectly and gave the book a triumphant end I felt.

Thank you from the heart. I'm so glad you liked FEVER THERAPY. I have been so busy with editing novel ‪#‎three‬ and writing ‪#‎five‬ that I neglected to do Adobe training or any marketing for HANNAH DUFF. I want to get the reflowable content to a professional standard first for ebooks. In turn this investment of time makes me riled at Amazon / Kindle who ignore formatting.

My pleasure. You skilfully narrated the events from different perspectives, and little Hannah's was endearing & heartbreaking. So I look forward to reading more about her. Jim you expressed many emotions so precisely, eg. "even straight telling would put the cold hand on a man's heart." Like · Reply · 24 May at 01:11

Hi Jim Downloaded book about a month again started reading late last night just finished with a cuppa this morning couldn't put it down. Honest, brill let me know when Coming Home is available on kindle. Well done, Jim you have found your vocation in life. I hope you're making the most of this lovely weather.Our group is performing Peter Pan this week so my mind racing that's why I'm reading all night. Speak soon, big hugs, Sally xxxx ps rating 5 big stars xxxxx

"Brilliantly shocking, sad and hilarious - humanity in the raw." Karamjeet Nahal-Macdonald,

"Extraordinary and at times fascinating, the writing is delightfully creative, combining skill, humour and irony with gentle understanding for the rites of passage through which his characters proceed." Dr H Josephus, Oxford, February 2015. Author's note: this is an extract, for full critique watch for review page pending development.

Customer Review 5.0 out of 5 stars Slowly he finds love again with Margaret Kemp and we see John rebuilding ..., 25 April 2016 By Richard This review is from: Hannah Duff, Going Home Book 2 (Paperback) Following on from the first book in the series, Fever Therapy, John Harper is a widower with 3 young children to bring up. Slowly he finds love again with Margaret Kemp and we see John rebuilding his life. But this story concerns his youngest daughter, Hannah, affectionately known to all as Duff. We watch as the precocious and lovable Duff learns silently from her father and sisters, storing all that knowledge throughout her school years. Duff longs for a University education, but this is vetoed by Margaret and reluctantly by her father. Margaret isn't exactly the wicked stepmother, but the two rarely see eye to eye . When she does leave school, she obtains a position with a wealthy family in Liverpool. She becomes a valued member of the household - governess to their two young children - and becomes involved in the Suffragette movement, advocating affiliation with the growing power of the Unions. Duff has a few platonic relationships, but becomes reacquainted with William Macdonald, an Edinburgh tram driver she had met following a fatal accident during her last days at school and whose letters Margaret had neglected to send on. Throughout all that happens, we see Duff grow from child to woman, we experience her feelings, laugh and cry with her - and this is due much to the wonderful and sensitive writing of the author. Hannah Duff is a fabulous character and a beautifully written book. Highly recommended - especially to any television producers looking for a down to earth family saga. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Report abuse | Permalink

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