Narrator: Kate Mulgrew
Published by Harper Audio on 17 May 2016
Length: 22 hrs and 20 mins
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From the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of NOS4A2 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 firefighter'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.
©2016 Joe Hill (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
Joe Hill is a fantastic author. His novels have been very unique and not limited to one area. The Heart Shaped Box involved a haunting. Horns was a fantasy with a mystery worthy of Agatha Christie. NOS4A2 I haven’t finished yet because it so completely terrifies me I have only made it halfway through. With The Fireman, Mr. Hill goes into the dystopian genre.
The world is in flames. Not because of a meteor strike or nuclear war. It is burning because of a virus that turns humans into torches. The dragonscale virus spread over the world and was difficult to contain. At first, individuals spontaneously combusted destroying their immediate surroundings. Then groups of people took out entire blocks when they went up. Then the cities were in flames. No one was sure how the virus spread or where it came from. Ignorance loves a vacuum and before long the infected were segregated and then murdered.
Harper, a school nurse before the world went up in flames, is now working at a local hospital. Her husband, Jakob, is an aspiring novelist. He has got to be one of the most unlikeable characters ever written. As their world shrinks, Harper and Jakob are cut off from all their family. When Harper develops the dragonscale, Jakob shows his true ignorant, arrogant, coward colors and it is not pretty.
The Fireman is a great character. He is everything Jakob is not and more. As Harper fights to survive long enough to give birth to her child and see the child safe, he is her main ally. She must fight the dragonscale, the fires, her psychotic husband and extremist in both the healthy and infected camps. The fireman tries to help her and the other infected find a safe haven from the death squads run by the healthy, her husband included.
I read the book as soon as it came out. It was great and I enjoyed it. Then I got the audiobook narrated by Kate Mulgrew. Although I was already familiar with the story, Ms. Mulgrew’s narration kept me engaged. She did a fantastic job on all the different voices, male and female, and accents. She conveyed the emotions well and kept the tension so I could not stop listening. I enjoyed her narration so much I also picked up her narration of Mr. Hill’s NOS4A2. Now I just have to pick up the courage to listen to it.
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