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The Fireman by Joe Hill
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The Fireman

by Joe Hill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,6371107,230 (3.85)132
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 is 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.… (more)
  1. 10
    Bird Box by Josh Malerman (Shelby_Kuzma)
    Shelby_Kuzma: Both books deal with a female character attempting to protect herself and her children in the wake of a widespread, apocalyptic event.
  2. 10
    The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition by Stephen King (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Both books cover the subject of the aftermath of a terrible widespread disease.
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English (108)  Italian (1)  All languages (109)
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
4.5 stars!

Dragonscale! It's a disease, a plague really, that etches one's skin with what looks like black hieroglyphics. Unfortunately, at some point the hieroglyphs light up and burst into flame and when they do, it's all over for you. If you happen to be standing next to anything flammable, it all over for that, (or them), too.

The world as we know it falls apart due to the 'scale, and people react much as you think they would. Picture how Donald Trump would react to people bursting into flame and how he would deal with those infected, in an effort to quell the disease.That's exactly what happens here. Hatred and fear of infection takes over and leads to even more deaths-most of which were unnecessary.

I'm a big fan of Joe Hill and when I heard about this book, I went about making it my life's mission to get an advance copy and I'm so glad I did. The Fireman is, in my opinion, his best book yet. The characters are the most developed we've seen from him so far, which makes it difficult to witness the trials Hill puts them through.

Mr. Hill excels at writing extremely strong women and Harper is no exception. She is a nurse who willingly helps treat those with the 'scale, while many in the medical field, and her own husband, want to run headlong in the opposite direction. Turns out Harper's husband is nothing like what she thought he was, and when she, herself, becomes infected, he makes it out to be her fault, and his true self is finally revealed. Fighting the disease, fighting her husband, trying to fight against the spread of the 'scale, Harper is a true hero and she owns this story.

Populated with other strong characters, both good and bad, this story reflects an imagination with a broad scope and a penchant for suffering. Although, at times Hill's prose rambles, I never found myself bored or losing interest; only becoming more agitated, worried and excited about what was going to come next. Would Harper make it through this? What about the plucky survivors, both good and evil? What about her horrible husband? You'll have to read this book to find out!

The Fireman was an epic tale, populated with characters you love and hate, highlighting what's both good and bad in society today. Somehow, though, I came out of the experience with a sense of hope and also a sense of excitement regarding what Joe Hill will do next.

Highly recommended for fans of post- apocalyptic tales and fans of Joe Hill!

*Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for providing a free e-ARC of The Fireman in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*


( )
  Charrlygirl | Mar 22, 2020 |
Kate Mulgrew's narration raised my rating of this book, just as it raised my rating of NOS4A2. The Fireman is so good to start with, but with her heartfelt voicing, the ball is knocked out of the park.

Highly recommended on audio ( )
  Charrlygirl | Mar 22, 2020 |
The Fireman was fantastic.
Draco Incendia Trychophyton aka Dragonscale is a highly contagious - not to mention deadly - spore that has swept across the country. It appears on the body as black and gold markings and eventually leads to spontaneous combustion.
Harper is a nurse who volunteers at the local hospital in order to help those who are infected. One day she meets a fireman who brings in an injured deaf boy and after arranging for him to be seen by a doctor, the fireman promises to help her in the future if she ever needs it.
Not long after the hospital burns down Harper discover she's pregnant...and infected. Despite a pact made with her husband Jakob, she is determined to live long enough to give birth. Things are further complicated when Jakob begins to go crazy.
When Harper encounters the Fireman again he brings her to a camp full of people who've learned to control and become one with the Dragonscale.

The Fireman is told through Harper's POV and is full of so many wonderfully fleshed out characters that you can't help but love (or hate!). Joe Hill did an amazing job depicting how life could be during an epidemic and how people change when fear/power take over.

It's such a creative and gripping book that I could never quite decide if I wanted to savor or devour it. Would definitely recommend! ( )
  maebri | Mar 10, 2020 |
The Fireman is quite a weighty book at 762 pages, so this is one I would recommend reading on your kindle if, like me, you get tired arms from reading heavy books. I thought the idea was good: a deadly spore spreading across the world setting people on fire but I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get the end of the world fear coming through the pages. That being said, it's still an interesting read but, in my opinion, the blurb doesn't really match the book as it's not quite the end of the world epic that I was expecting.

Harper is a school nurse with an obsession with Mary Poppins and she has to look on the bright side as she has a crazy husband, Jakob. Jakob has a plan if they ever contract the deadly virus named dragonscale: they would put on their favourite music, drink their expensive bottle of wine, take some pills and die in each other's arms. He doesn't really ask Harper's opinion of this but when she finds out that she is pregnant and infected with the 'scale her one aim is to survive long enough to give birth. Now, I couldn't decide whether she was stupid or selfish at this stage. Even though there was a chance that the baby would not be infected, why would you want to bring a life into a world that is burning around you?

When Jakob's craziness reaches new heights, Harper meets John Rookwood, aka The Fireman, and his two young companions: Allie and Nick. They are all infected with the 'scale and have found a way to survive so they invite Harper to Camp Wyndham, where she meets other infected survivors. This is where I lost interest a smidge as it was all a bit too much peace, love and harmony for me, sitting round the campfire singing kum ba yah. Of course, put a crowd of people together and the harmony doesn't last long as they jostle for position to be the alpha male, or female. My interest was piqued again as the camp started to implode and new allegiances were formed, and I tried to work out who Harper could trust.

The Fireman himself is a great character and I would have liked to have learned more about him, although I think that is part of his mystery that you never really find out who he really is. The Fireman is definitely a rollercoaster read as it has more than its fair share of ups and downs and it is a good post-apocalyptic thriller but I think a shorter book would have been more intense.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest an unbiased opinion. ( )
  Michelle.Ryles | Mar 9, 2020 |
Loved every single page-turning minute of this story. ( )
  bookswithmom | Dec 18, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joe Hillprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mulgrew, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Outside the street's on fire
in a real death waltz...
--"Jungleland," Bruce Springsteen
Though I spends me time in the ashes and smoke
In this 'ole wide world there's no 'appier bloke.
--"Chim Chim Cher-ee," Robert and Richard Sherman
It was a pleasure to burn.
--Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Dedication
For Ethan John King, who burns bright. Your Dad loves you.
First words
Harper Grayson had seen lots of people burn on TV, everyone had, but the first person she saw burn for real was in the playground behind the school.
Quotations
Humanity is a germ that thrives on the very edge of catastrophe.
The people in charge can always justify doing terrible things in the name of the greater good.
But we need kindness like we need to eat. It satisfies something in us we can't do without.
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 children. Or your grandchildren. Death is a raw deal for narrative junkies.
FOX said the Dragon had been set loose by ISIS, using spores that had been invented by the Russians in the 1980s. MSNBC said sources indicated the ’scale might’ve been created by engineers at Halliburton and stolen by culty Christian types fixated on the Book of Revelation. CNN reported both sides.
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Book description
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.
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