The Fireman

  • by Joe Hill
  • Narrated by Kate Mulgrew
  • 22 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Better than Heart-Shaped Box?

Believe it! He's almost as good as his Daddy! Keep 'em coming Joe! Kate Mulgrew was an amazing narrator by the way. 5 stars Red!👏👍
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- Billy Davis

Read Steven king's the Stand instead

Would you try another book from Joe Hill and/or Kate Mulgrew?

Maybe if available at the library.


Any additional comments?

Maybe it's better to read then listen to this audio book?

I loved the author's previous book. While it was clear he was inspired by Steven King in his earlier work, it didn't jar you out of the story as much as this book. So if you loved The Stand, you'll like this book (maybe). As long as the blatant rip off of plot devices or characters doesn't bother you. It's not plagerism, it's not homage, it's just obnoxious. For examples, see the bottom of this review.

Aside from this, the absence of consistent world building was jarring. I was intrigued at the concept (the infection itself was pretty original). But that's where it ends. The post-infection world was 2-dimensional. For example, a year after the world fell apart, an important scene was premised on both the "911" system still functioning normally, and that the system would send an ambulances on the word of someone saying, "I'm not infected." Also there aren't any people unless directly related to the action. It reminded me of the scene in Truman where action is only where Truman is, and everything outside of that scene doesn't exist. Several times the plot relied on cell phones still functioning when there was no electricity for months. In addition there was a jarring lack of character motivation. I kept waiting for an explanation of why several characters personalities changed radically. (This might be worse in the audible version). My final example is the complete "blind faith" that the island is a haven, not one character voices hesitation in going there (until they are already there.) . Have they ever read a book or seen a movie about governments rounding up infecteds? In a world where "cremation" teams exist, it is unbelievable that they could travel hundreds of miles without major interruptions.

Okay- similarities with the Stand
Both books are post apocalyptic after an infection spreads across the world.
Both books have a deaf mute character named nick;
Both books have a pregnant heroine, and there is a question whether the baby will be infection free
Both pregnant heroines find a love interest that is not the baby's father;
Both books rely on survivors making their way to a semi-godlike safe haven.
Both books have the safe-haven leader being in a coma, waking briefly and passing on vital information and then dying
Both books have a "long walk" portion where our heroes have to walk hundreds of miles
Both treks include a domesticated animal;
Both books have 1 of the group getting seriously hurt on the way;
Both books use the phrase "my life for you"
Both books have characters who are originally in a jail and the "locked up and how they got free" story;
Both books (as do many King books) have a human character gone "crazy" and trying to kill our Heroes (There is NO explanation for Jacob going homicidal psychopath).
I could go on

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- Sandra Mazliah "Customer"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-17-2016
  • Publisher: HarperAudio