Friday, October 7, 2016

The Fireman

by Joe Hill
752 pgs

I remember reading somewhere once that every great author has a post-apocalyptic novel in them. I don't know whether it's true or not, but I hope it is. There's something about a story of survival after most of the rest of the world has perished that appeals to me. My favorite book of all time is one, and happens to have been written by Hill's father.

The Fireman is Joe Hill's contribution to the genre, and it's a noteworthy one. In Hill's story--like his father's--it's a plague that decimates the world's population, a plague that leaves its victims covered in gold-and-black tattoo markings and eventually results in death by spontaneous combustion.

Harper Grayson is a young nurse who lives in New England. She works in a hospital trying to treat patients infected with Dragonscale, as the infection has become known. One day while working, an injured young boy is rushed to the hospital by an anxious fireman. And while the fireman argues with the hospital staff about admitting the young boy, Harper witness the fireman begin to give off smoke, like he's about to bursts into flame. But as she watches, she realizes he's found a way to control the virus, and the smoking subsides. She soon learns that the fireman has not only learned how to prevent the virus from killing him, but he's also learned how to master and control the fire that's literally burning within him.

Joe Hill does a great job of telling his story against the backdrop of this one-of-a-kind plague. He creates a cast of memorable and likeable characters, and for over 700 pages, keeps you on edge, not knowing which one of them will become a pile of ashes before the end of the page.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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