Photo: Jakob Mark, free usage


The fourth rider – 10,000 years of epidemic history
(Den fjerde rytter – 10.000 års epidemihistorie)
Published 2020, 274 pages


Gads Forlag

Foreign rights:

Rikke Detlevsen,

Sample translation:

Download a sample of the book


The fourth rider

For the vast majority of the modern world’s inhabitants COVID-19 was the first time they saw the impact of a worldwide epidemic and the anxiety and destruction that follows in the slip stream. From a historical perspective, however, it was to be expected.

The fear of epidemics is ancient and people once believed that they harvested their victims from the back of a pale horse. And it is disease, not war, that accounts for the greatest number of deaths in world history. Epidemics have changed the course of history numerous times, deciding whether empires rose or fell even as they have given survivors new opportunities.

This book tells the whole history from the first epidemics among the earliest stone-age humans COVID-19’s impact on the global population.

About the authors

Jeanette Varberg (b. 1978) is the museum inspector of the National Museum and previously the of the Moesgaard Museum. She’s active in communicating our prehistory as an author, expert and lecturer.

Poul Duedahl (b. 1973) is a professor of history at Aalborg University and has published numerous books on diverse subjects. He is a three-time winner of first prize for the Year’s Historical Book.

Text translated by Sharon Rhodes