Saturday, April 30, 2016
The Fireman by Joe Hill
At first, no one knew what was happening. People started to get a tracery of images on their skin, black and gold, almost like lace. At first, people called it dragonscale and were not that concerned. But when the lacework started to smolder and then erupt into full flames that killed the host, reality set in. Draco Incendia Trychophyton was a virus like none ever seen. Thousands, then millions were infected. Entire states were burned. Society broke down as the power grids failed and food was hard to find. Those not infected did anything they could to avoid those who were.
Harper Grayson is one of the unlucky ones. Her work as a nurse put her in daily contact with those infected and soon she was also. Her husband, Jakob, showed his true colors by revealing his hate of her for having the disease and his anger that she could have exposed him. He leaves her, after failing to convince her that a mutual suicide would be the best choice. But Harper has a reason to try to live; she has just found out she is pregnant.
Reeling, she leaves her house and all she knows. She wanders until she finds a refuge, a camp of those with dragonscale who have found a way to keep the virus from erupting and burning those infected with it. The camp is run by a kindly man known as the Father and protected by a mythical figure called The Fireman. He has learned to control dragonscale and bend it to his will. He fights against those who would do anything to destroy those infected. Can this camp of individuals find a way to survive in a world determined to stamp them out? Can they manage to live in peace or will power struggles cleave them into factions and cliques fighting for control?
Joe Hill has created a novel that touches readers' lives. With the reality of the Ebola and Zika viruses and constant scares about bird flu and swine flu, most people are convinced of the inevitability of a virus that will sweep the world and wipe out millions of people. The Fireman is a remote, scary figure that is not soon forgotten. In Harper, he has created a heroine who is so full of common sense and practicality that she is instantly likable. One can't help but continue to read to find out who, if anyone, survives. This book is recommended for readers of dystopian novels and thriller fans.