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The Fireman

by Joe Hill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,8491306,617 (3.83)144
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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» See also 144 mentions

English (129)  Italian (1)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Closer to a 4.5. This has its moments, but they seem to be buried deep in a mire of the standard post-apocalypse stuff. Picks up a bit in the final act, but not soon enough to save it. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
I don't normally write reviews for books on Goodreads but in this case I felt it was required.

The Fireman isn't a bad book it's just too long and meanders too much. The core story is there and cool moments are in it. It just fails to deliver a great book.

I would compare it to a TV season. Overall it works but there are too many filler episodes but there are great episodes in it.

cut a third of this and it could have been great. as it stands it's good. ( )
  JamieFUK | Dec 27, 2020 |
There were times that lagged, but for the most part, this sucker was a page-turner. My only complaint is about the section where the nurse and John were together on the island because she seemed like a different character--one that stuck around for the rest of the book. My complaint is not that she changed, but that I wish she was more like this fireball at the beginning ...and that the change wasn't really explained. In any case, worth a read. I'll be adding his other books to my TBR list. ( )
  pmichaud | Dec 21, 2020 |
Never read a novel by Joe Hill. Just found out he's a son of Stephen King, :O
Funny that I'm also reading Stephen King's -End of Watch- at the same time as this.

Page 240: I just don't get it. What am I reading? Is something exciting happening soon?
  xKayx | Dec 14, 2020 |
3.5 stars

There is a new plague – a spore – that is spreading throughout the population. It causes people to suddenly burst into flames. When a nurse, Harper, comes down with it, her husband leaves her and she is driven from her home as there are people out there who are hunting down and killing those with “Dragonscale”. They are marked with an elaborate tattoo when infected, so it can be hard to hide. Harper ends up in the woods with a group of other people hiding out with Dragonscale, including a man they call “The Fireman”. Things take a turn for the worse at this camp when their leader is seriously injured.

This was good. It was long, but it was good. I liked that Allie, the teenager, was portrayed realistically – at least I thought so. Good and bad, temperamental, like a teenager. We also had some crazy characters and some power-hungry ones. I do wonder if there will be a sequel. ( )
  LibraryCin | Oct 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
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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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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.

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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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