Really good science fiction novel from this Australian author, set in the near future where the religious right has taken over Queensland and engineers the secession of the northern part of that state to create a new nation called Capricornia. Morgan makes this seem all too plausible.

At the same time, a virus is sweeping the world, spread by cats. The virus has major effects on the human brain, leading to a variety of effects including, in some, intense synesthesia.

Charlotte Zinn is a scientist working on a cure. But when her artist partner becomes infected and celebrates his resultant synesthesia, she becomes conflicted. He and many others don’t want to be cured. Her partner’s sister is a reporter working in Queensland (and then Capricornia), trying to uncover the truth about the religious leadership of that place, a pursuit which involves her in great danger.

When Charlotte discovers that another common effect of the virus is to greatly reduce religious feelings, destroying the faith of many, she has to make some difficult decisions.

Really interesting novel, highly recommended.