The Hot Zone

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A Frenchman who lives in Kenya near Kitum Cave in 1980, Monet contracts Marburg after visiting the cave. His swift and horrifying decline is described in excruciating detail. Most terrifying of all is the fact that after he grew ill, Monet’s doctors put him on a commercial flight to a hospital in Nairobi, potentially exposing millions of people across the world to Ebola through air travel. Monet eventually hemorrhages on the floor of the hospital’s waiting room, infecting Dr. Shem Musoke and dying shortly afterwards.

Charles Monet Quotes in The Hot Zone

The The Hot Zone quotes below are all either spoken by Charles Monet or refer to Charles Monet. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor Books edition of The Hot Zone published in 1999.
Part 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

[S]omething was making copies of itself inside Monet. A life form had acquired Charles Monet as a host, and it was replicating.

Related Characters: Richard Preston (speaker), Charles Monet
Related Symbols: Mount Elgon and Kitum Cave
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

After hiking in Kitum Cave, Charles Monet has unknowingly contracted the Marburg virus. The ominous tone that Preston strikes in this quote is appropriate, given the potentially disastrous circumstances that he is describing (and it also sets the tone for the book as a work of "non-fiction horror"). Although Marburg rarely infects humans, when it does, the results are nothing short of disastrous. 

This passage brings up a pattern that recurs repeatedly in the book: that of humans as vectors for disease. Over and over again we will see people living their day-to-day lives—boarding planes, shopping at markets, going to work—unaware that they are in fact exposing others to deadly viruses. To these "life form[s]," we are nothing but excellent hosts, perfectly suited to helping them spread and replicate. As of this moment, Monet is a virus's host. Although he may not show symptoms yet, Marburg has begun incubating, and the things living inside of him will soon render him fatally ill. 

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Part 1, Chapter 8 Quotes

Gene felt a prickling sensation on his scalp. The paths of Charles Monet and Peter Cardinal had crossed at only one place on earth, and that was inside Kitum Cave. What had they done in the cave? What had they found in there? What had they touched? What had they breathed? What lived in Kitum Cave?

Related Characters: Richard Preston (speaker), Eugene (Gene) Johnson (speaker), Charles Monet, Peter Cardinal
Related Symbols: Mount Elgon and Kitum Cave
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Preston describes the reaction of researcher Gene Johnson as he realizes that Charles Monet and Peter Cardinal, both of whom died of Marburg virus, each visited Kitum Cave days before their deaths. The “prickling sensation” is because Johnson knows this cannot be a coincidence. Somewhere within Kitum Cave is the source of the Marburg virus. Although a chilling thought, Johnson is also excited and curious—if he were able to find this source, it would be a huge breakthrough for Ebola research as a whole.

Preston next asks a series of questions, helping his readers to understand all the possibilities that scientists must consider as they study a virus. Marburg might be spread through touch, it might be spread through the air, or it might incubate within an animal found in the cave. Of course, Preston also adds a touch of foreboding to the questions, helping readers to understand how simultaneously terrifying and illuminating such a discovery would be.

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Charles Monet Character Timeline in The Hot Zone

The timeline below shows where the character Charles Monet appears in The Hot Zone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1: Something in the Forest
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
On January 1, 1980, Charles Monet, a Frenchman, lives by himself in Western Kenya near a huge volcano called Mount Elgon.... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
Monet, it turns out, came to Kenya just as AIDS began to infect humans. In the... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Innovation and Curiosity vs. Hubris  Theme Icon
Moving back to Monet, Preston describes the man’s routine, in which he works during the week and explores nearby... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Describing Monet’s walk to work, Preston moves on to describe Mount Elgon, which looms above the surrounding... (full context)
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Monet has women “friends” in a nearby, impoverished town called Eldoret, and he pays them for... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Innovation and Curiosity vs. Hubris  Theme Icon
Monet and his friend drive to a cliff called Endebess Bluff on the side of Mount... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Innovation and Curiosity vs. Hubris  Theme Icon
After entering the small segment of Mount Elgon that is a national park, Monet and his friend meet a monkey, which sits on his shoulder and eats a banana.... (full context)
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
A thunderstorm moves in during the afternoon, and Monet and his friend stay in their tent (with Preston speculating that perhaps they have sex).... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
The next morning, Monet and his friend set off for Kitum Cave, driving as far as they can and... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Monet and his friend explore the cave, which is enormous (over fifty-five yards across). Surrounded by... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Innovation and Curiosity vs. Hubris  Theme Icon
As Monet and his friend explore, Preston speculates about where their vacation went wrong—perhaps Monet pricked his... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Preston reveals that Monet’s friend resurfaced years after this incident. While working as a prostitute in a bar in... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
After his vacation Charles Monet returns to his job, but within him “a life form had acquired Charles Monet as... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
After several days Monet’s colleagues check on him, and drive him to a hospital in a city called Kisumu.... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
As Monet’s plane, full of passengers, flies towards Nairobi, Preston describes the landscape beneath it. They pass... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
On the small, cramped plane, Monet becomes sick. He vomits continually, and his lips become smeared with bile and blood. His... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
Preston explains that the virus has now saturated Monet’s body in a process called “extreme amplification.” Monet is essentially transforming into a mixture of... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
Monet falls asleep, and Preston again describes the landscape, from the afternoon sun on the valley... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
After entering the hospital, Monet sits in the waiting room, where he is surrounded by other people, many of whom... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2: Jumper
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Innovation and Curiosity vs. Hubris  Theme Icon
Bravery and Teamwork Theme Icon
Hospital staff runs to aid Charles Monet, and they are met in the ICU by Dr. Shem Musoke, a talented and personable... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
The doctors of Nairobi Hospital autopsy Monet, and find that his kidneys and liver have essentially liquefied, as has his intestinal lining.... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3: Diagnosis
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
Innovation and Curiosity vs. Hubris  Theme Icon
...Nairobi and Washington D.C. The author/narrator meets him in a coffee shop to discuss Charles Monet and Dr. Shem Musoke. Dr. Silverstein describes how he believed that Dr. Musoke was close... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
...like a bullet and Marburg like a ring, it was called “stretched rabies.” After Charles Monet died, researchers defined the family of filoviruses as containing not only Marburg, but also two... (full context)
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Bravery and Teamwork Theme Icon
...hospital, as many employees there had come into contact with or handled samples from Charles Monet and Musoke. Miraculously, Dr. Musoke survives, although he is at first confused and aggressive. Slowly... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
Innovation and Curiosity vs. Hubris  Theme Icon
...begin to study Marburg. Some of this Marburg virus (which Preston traces from Musoke to Monet to possibly Kitum Cave) is currently in a collection of samples kept by the US... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4: A Woman and a Soldier
Globalization Theme Icon
Bravery and Teamwork Theme Icon
Preston now sets the scene in Thurmont, Maryland, on September 25, 1983—four years after Charles Monet died. This is an idyllic American town near the Appalachians, and home to a Victorian... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 8: Cardinal
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
Innovation and Curiosity vs. Hubris  Theme Icon
Bravery and Teamwork Theme Icon
...family had traveled to Kitum Cave. New questions spring up in Johnson’s mind: if Charles Monet and Peter Cardinal both traveled to Kitum Cave before their deaths, then clearly the virus... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 9: Going Deep
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
Innovation and Curiosity vs. Hubris  Theme Icon
Bravery and Teamwork Theme Icon
...Gene Johnson near Fort Detrick. The scientist recounts his discovery that Peter Cardinal and Charles Monet had both been at Kitum Cave. Afterwards, Johnson flew out to Kenya and talked with... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 2: Camp
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
...walk through the town they are swarmed by pimps, and Preston speculates that perhaps Charles Monet’s girlfriends lived around here. The air, he observes, is cold, heavy, and wet. (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Globalization Theme Icon
...Masai and the Bukusu. They make camp that night in “the same meadow where Charles Monet had camped.” They begin to cook dinner, and observe a Cape buffalo watching them. Robin... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Innovation and Curiosity vs. Hubris  Theme Icon
Bravery and Teamwork Theme Icon
...Polycarp Okuku asks Robin MacDonald who has died in the cave. Preston explains about Charles Monet and Peter Cardinal, and explains that he’s just being careful. Okuku states that he’s heard... (full context)
The Power of Nature Theme Icon
Human Error and Fragility Theme Icon
Innovation and Curiosity vs. Hubris  Theme Icon
...another potential exposure to the virus. Deeper still, he finds spiders and insects—perhaps they bit Monet and Cardinal, transmitting Marburg that way. Preston acknowledges how little he understands about the cave... (full context)