Following her husband’s death to cancer, Dr Judith Mannaseh has devoted her life to finding a natural cure for cancer. Her clinic called ‘Bethulia’, is having notable success. Harry Buchanan, the owner of the pharmaceutical company, Pharmex, is becoming increasingly worried as Judith’s alternative treatment is a threat to his multi-million pound, cancer drug business. Pharmex have offered to buy her out, but she refuses to sell. Judith believes the pharmaceutical industry to be corrupt and conventional treatments for cancer harmful due to their severe side effects. Then one of her patients - a six year old boy - hits the news headlines after reports that he suffered a heart seizure and died following his treatment at Bethulia. Judith’s business is closed down while investigations are carried out. She can no longer treat her cancer patients, who will die without her medicines. With her key investor pulling out, her company is nearly destroyed. Judith receives some incriminating information about Pharmex and visits Harry, under the pretext of negotiating a business deal with him. Whilst with him, she also realises that he had engineered the boy’s death to discredit and destroy Bethulia. A struggle leads to Judith killing Harry in self-defence.
The deuterocanonical book of Judith, tells how the city of Bethulia is under attack by King Nebuchadnezzar’s invading army led by its general, Holofernes. This war is translated into a contemporary story of the conflict that exists between alternative and conventional medicine. In this modern retelling, Bethulia clinic is under attack by the pharmaceutical company Pharmex - Harry Buchanan representing Holofernes. In both stories, Judith has to save Bethulia from destruction and save her people from dying. As in the ancient story, she transforms herself from mourning widow into a stunning seductress and then inveigles her way into enemy territory. The biblical beheading of Holofernes by Judith is a powerful image. It shows the strength of a woman who triumphs against the odds when everyone else has given up and lost faith that God can save Bethulia. Here, Judith meets with Harry under the pretence of striking an investment deal. As the evil truth about Pharmex is revealed, Harry attacks Judith. She fights both for her life and also to save Bethulia from destruction, eventually killing him with a knife in self –defence. The ending sees his decapitated body washed up on a beach, honouring Judith’s famous decapitation of Holofernes