by Joe Hill
Published by William Morrow
on May 17th 2016
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author ofNOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.
The fireman is coming. Stay cool.
No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.
Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.
Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.
In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke. -- From Goodreads.com
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I feel like my meager reviewing skills are not up to the task of reviewing this book. I can’t find the right words to say just how much I completely and totally adored this book. There is only one other book I can think of that ranks as high with me and that is The Stand by Stephen King. How “odd” that both are apocalyptic plague novels – and that the men who wrote them are from the same family.
In both books, a deadly pandemic reduces the worlds population by millions. Both feature a pregnant woman who is a survivor of the plague, and also carrying someone who will prove if humanity will perish or not. Both feature a deaf man named Nick (saw what you did there Joe!) and, for me, I just had the same…”feeling…” that I had reading The Stand. I can’t explain it any better than that. It was a feeling and both books made me feel it. And lastly, while both books are dystopian both have an optimism that I can’t help but love. Humanity is dying, long live humanity. Perhaps that is the “feeling” I can’t identify? Do I put these books down feeling more hopeful for our future?
I hope so.
The writing is great. The characters are memorable, root-for-able, and real. The book, while long, does not feel long – which I always find to be quite the accomplishment when it happens. Kate Mulgrew reads the audiobook; which is how I plan to reread this book, and soon! I can’t say more than what is in the summary. I don’t want to say anything more than what I’ve said. The Fireman is one of those books I think one is best reading with little to go on other than, hopefully, my opinion that it is a fantastic book. I hope you believe me. I hope you decide to get it, take it on vacation this summer, and devour it. I’m ready to read it again.
“There’s something horribly unfair about dying in the middle of a good story, before you have a chance to see how it all comes out. Of course, I suppose everyone ALWAYS dies in the middle of a good story, in a sense. Your own story. Or the story of your grandchildren. Death is a raw deal for narrative junkies.”
“Death is a raw deal for narrative junkies.”
“It’s so fucking cheap when people say I love you. It’s a name to stick on a surge of hormones, with a little hint of loyalty thrown in. I’ve never liked saying it. Here’s what I say: We’re together, now and until the end. You have everything I need to be happy. You make me feel right.”
It’s easy to dismiss religion as bloody, cruel, and tribal. I’ve done it myself. But it isn’t religion that’s wired that way – it’s man himself. At bottom every faith is a form of instruction in common decency. Different textbooks in the same class. Don’t they all teach that to do for others feels better than to do for yourself? That someone else’s happiness need not mean less happiness for you?”