Regular price: £23.69

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
OR
In Basket

Summary

Get drawn into a novel of medical suspense that begins with these chilling questions: Who ends up with the blood samples you routinely give for tests? What else are they being used for? Why don't you know?

From Boston, a disgraced medical student travels to South America to deliver a research paper that could save her career and becomes a victim of an unspeakable crime....Thousands of miles away, a brilliant, reclusive scientist, dying from an incurable disease that threatens to make each tortured breath his last, is on the verge of perfecting a serum that could save millions of lives, and bring others inestimable wealth....In Chicago, a disillusioned private detective, on the way to his third career, is hired to determine the identity of a John Doe, killed on a Florida highway, with mysterious marks on his body.

Three seemingly disconnected lives, surging unrelentingly toward one another. Three lives becoming irrevocably intertwined. Three lives in mounting peril, moving ever closer to the ultimate confrontation against a deadly secret society with godlike aspirations and roots in antiquity.

Medical student. Scientist. Private eye. Three people who will learn the deeper meanings of brilliance and madness, truth and deception, trust and betrayal.

Three lives linked forever by a single vial of blood: the fifth vial.

©2007 Michael Palmer; (P)2007 Brilliance Audio

Critic reviews

"A terrifying vision of the Hippocratic oath gone very wrong." (Entertainment Weekly)
"Palmer taps a real medical issue for storytelling thrills." (Boston magazine)
"A tale set at the very edge of our medical knowledge. I loved it!" (Tess Gerritsen)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Niels
  • Co.KilkennyIreland
  • 23-03-09

What a surprise

Having had a few books that we did not like much I had chosen this one. What a surpise, Enjoyed it thouroughly, suspence, murder, baddies and goodies, and it grips you right to the end. It may even be possible...............!?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Would make a great movie

Power corrupts and this book talks about how power corrupts the medical profession. Lots of tangled webs and interweaving of stories. I enjoyed it immensely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-06-08

accents, oh dear

the narrator ruined it for me. Unfortunately, the story calls for a wide variety of foreign accents, all of which are affected by the narrator as a sort of transylvanian vampire/swedish chef.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for PSinger
  • PSinger
  • 01-07-08

Cheesy

This book seems to be only a rearrangement of some core concepts found in his other books with simple modifications. While the concept is very intriguing, the dialog is simple and the plot twists can be seen miles away. The ending is especially ridiculous, complete with warriors sacrificing their lives, good guys double-crossing and turning out to be evil, bad guys getting their comeuppance, and the heroine saving the day and all turning out wonderfully for her. More cheese than a pound of Velveeta.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Carrie
  • Carrie
  • 30-07-12

one wild ride! Hang onto your seats!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

great narrator, thriller plot

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Fifth Vial?

Natalie's lifesaving receipt of a healthy lung at story's end

Have you listened to any of J. Charles’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no I haven't but I will definitely do so now!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

when Natalie almost lost her niece in the fire

Any additional comments?

if you're looking for a story which has many twists and turns, and lots of surprises, get The Fifth Vial! It took me awhile to like the private detective in the book; he didn't seem too inteligent! But by the time the story ended, he had my respect. J Charles was a new narrator to me, and I wasn't sure how he sounded. But, he was great! Get The Fifth Vial by Michael Palmer, you will not be sorry!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Isobel
  • Isobel
  • 03-12-16

Reader wasn't the best for the story

This mans voice is very very very difficult to listen to, the voices were not very good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kathy I. Hinners
  • Kathy I. Hinners
  • 19-02-15

An enigmatic, believable novel.

This book has held my attention and has kept me on the edge of my seat. Magnificent writing, plot, narration!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Debbie
  • Debbie
  • 07-06-14

4 Hours Left? I Quit!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. I can think of no single reason TO recommend it.

If you’ve listened to books by Michael Palmer before, how does this one compare?

Very badly is how it compares. I think it wins the worst-so-far award from me.

Would you be willing to try another one of J. Charles’s performances?

Yes if I believed in the book. I would not seek him out. For this title his narration served only to contribute to the confusion and droning book. I was unable to differentiate his characters-male or female. The plot was jerky, did time jumps which Palmer should not attempt! It became one droning nothingness. Palmer consistently uses too many characters. In this title he really confused me; then add the narrator? I could sleep to it if I had insomnia.

Could you see The Fifth Vial being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No, but if it was it would have to be better than listening to the book!

Any additional comments?

In theory the author had an interesting topic. He should have at least researched and added relevant info. I picked up not a single scientific fact or factoid and we are talking about illegal human transplants? And somehow done in part on kidnapped people in an RV? And no sadly it was not an amusing book either although it sounds like it could have been!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Beverly
  • Beverly
  • 08-01-11

I realy wanted to like this book...

In general, I love medical mystery / dramas but this one just didn't do it for me. First, it was poorly written; the author frequently would repeat words and phrases - like, "She ___ to anyone and anything," and the word "conflagration" which I can only assume the author came across in the thesaurus and fell in love with, hence the repetition. Unnecessary words are added too, which I think the author added to give it a more "medical" feel, but just had me shaking me head and chuckling sadly, like "She felt for a pulse in her carotid artery." Couldn't he have just said, "She felt for a pulse"? Second, he throws in completely un-related scenes, many of which had me thinking they had something to do with the story, so I slogged through them - only to find out that they were, in fact, pointless. What a waste of time!

Lastly, the narrator sounds like he's suffering a terrible head cold. I kept wanting to yell at him "just clear your throat already!!" And as if all that wasn't so bad, the voices the narrator uses to distinguish one character from another are just terrible. The accents he puts on are poorly done and the woman-voices he affects are laughable.

Terrible experience, all around. Like my review title says - I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mary Jo
  • Mary Jo
  • 22-05-10

Reader ruinous

The story was interesting...as far as I got. This is the worst reader ever. I do not understand how an author or Audible publishes audiobooks with such terrible readers when there is so much talent out there. Do not waste your credits. Go to the library and read this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lia
  • Lia
  • 09-09-09

Good listen

A little predicable in parts but overall an enjoyable listen

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for S. DeJaeger
  • S. DeJaeger
  • 06-02-18

What an action pack book

This does have a surprise ending. Lot’s of twists & turns. I guess that is why I love his books so much he reveals how money can become so powerful a motivator in the medical field.