I read this book around five to six years ago; the publishing date was probably a few years before that. I remember the cover had a tree with a lion.

What I remember:

  • (As said above) the cover has a lion
  • There were either six or eight teenagers (an even number)
  • The disease turns people into silver
  • The main character . . .

gets the disease

  • The cure is . . .

wasp stings or some kind of sting

  • Book set in a desert
  • Disease transmitted through touch
  • After getting the disease, I think it begins to itch. Once you become 100% silver, you go crazy and try to infect others
  • Turns skin silver

Also, this book is like Silver by Christ Wooding, but it is not Silver.

Is there any book that matches this description?

  • Does the disease turn them into solid lumps of silver, or just silver-coloured? Does it kill them? How transmissible is it, and how is it transmitted?
    – DavidW
    Jan 28, 2023 at 3:37
  • @DavidW I will edit the info to your question in. Jan 28, 2023 at 3:38
  • 1
    It's still not entirely clear. Does the disease give people's skin a silver colour? Or does it turn them into literal silver, the metallic element, chemical symbol Ag, through some sort of alchemy?
    – Pete
    Jan 28, 2023 at 15:39
  • @Pete Is this better? Jan 29, 2023 at 0:26

1 Answer 1


Kalahari (2015) by Jessica Khoury matches your description.

From Goodreads:

When an educational safari goes wrong, five teens find themselves stranded in the Kalahari Desert without a guide. It’s up to Sarah, the daughter of zoologists, to keep them alive and lead them to safety, calling on survival know-how from years of growing up in remote and exotic locales. Battling dehydration, starvation and the pangs of first love, she does her best to hold it together, even as their circumstances grow increasingly desperate.

But soon a terrifying encounter makes Sarah question everything she’s ever known about the natural world. A silver lion, as though made of mercury, makes a vicious, unprovoked attack on the group. After a narrow escape, they uncover the chilling truth behind the lion’s silver sheen: a highly contagious and deadly virus that threatens to ravage the entire area—and eliminate life as they know it.

Cover of "Kalahari" by Jessica Khoury

  • 1
    How does it match the description?
    – Valorum
    Jan 29, 2023 at 9:04

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