- Hardcover: 768 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow (17 May 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062200631
- ISBN-13: 978-0062200631
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.5 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,83,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Fireman: A Novel Hardcover – 17 May 2016
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“Original and gripping, a page-turner.” (George R. R. Martin on THE FIREMAN)
“[A] superb supernatural thriller . . . a tremendous, heartrending epic of bravery and love set in a fully realized and terrifying apocalyptic world, where hope lies in the simplest of gestures and the fullest of hearts.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on THE FIRMAN)
“Hill has a talent for depicting fascinating characters caught in terrible situations. . . . With a full cast of characters and multiple story lines to keep the reader hooked, Hill’s enthralling fourth thriller hits another home run.” (Library Journal (starred review) on THE FIREMAN)
“Joe Hill has always been good, but he’s created something incandescent here, soaring and original. He’s a master storyteller who writes with fire in his veins.” (Lauren Beukes, author of BROKEN MONSTERS on THE FIREMAN)
“Fascinating and utterly engaging, this novel is sure to leave readers wanting more. One thing is for certain, however. After reading this book, readers will never hear Christmas carols in quite the same way again.” (Library Journal (starred review) on NOS4A2)
“[An] undeniably readable work.” (Booklist (starred review) on NOS4A2)
“Read it with the lights on and your children locked in a closet.” (BookRiot.com on NOS4A2)
[Hill]’s got horror down pat, and his debut is hair-raising fun.” (Kirkus on HEART-SHAPED BOX)
“[A] wrenching and effective ghost story . . . reads like good, early King mixed with some of the edgier splatterpunk sensibilities of David J. Schow . . . [HEART-SHAPED BOX] has genuinely touching emotional moments as well as action-packed confrontations with the dead.” (Library Journal (starred review) on HEART-SHAPED BOX)
“A genuinely scary novel filled with people you care about; the kind of book that still stays in your mind after you’ve turned over the final page. I loved it unreservedly.” (Neil Gaiman, author of THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE on HEART-SHAPED BOX)
From the Back Cover
From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2, Horns, and Heart-Shaped Box comes an unnerving novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes
Stay cool . . .
No one knows exactly when or where it began. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one . . . Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that tattoos its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks—before causing them to burst into flames.
Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse treated hundreds of infected patients before contracting the deadly virus herself. 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 now wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term.
Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their once-placid New England community collapses in terror.
But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger, a man wearing a dirty yellow firefighter’s jacket and carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known simply 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.
. . . The Fireman is coming.See all Product description
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter mobile phone number.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Yes, it is post-apocalyptic, it borrows a lot of aspects from lots of other works, like Hill himself announces on the very first page of his work. I haven't read anything Harry Potter, so I'm no expert to say if Rowling influenced Hill in writing this one, but one thing is for certain, it sounds true: there are references to Dumbledore all through - Father Storey comes from there probably. The title from Bradbury. And the rest of it from his father, about which I can vouch. Yeah, a lot of it in the way of popular cultural references writing and structuring comes from King. Which I did feel in Nos4R2. But, somehow Joe Hill in original in his writing. Which also was very glaringly visible in Nos4R2, which has an amazing structuring and writing style - a reason it becomes more readable.
I'll go to his writing style here in this book in awhile.
Back to the originality. In spite of all the aforementioned influences and drawings, the whole idea of a spore spreading, that can combust people, and that brings about the apocalypse is beautiful to explore. But, his ingenious to stand original comes in when he brings in Harper, a pregnant woman who wants to deliver her child. In spite of her having the 'Scale.
This is the premise. The main plot. And spine of the book.
Talking of post-apocalyptic novels, this one has no resemblance to King's Stand, except may be in having a deaf and mute character named Nick. And the Marlboro Man for Trashcan Man. Rightly credited his father here.
Coming to the writing, this is so different from Nos4R2. Here, it seemed the story was small with a lot of unwanted sub-plots, which slowed the story down, and did not move it anywhere in the middle three-hundred-odd pages other than giving time for Harper's carrying months. This also the chapters short and the splits in books more.
Hundred pages in, it is a ride, while we get into a world infected by the 'Scale. Once Harper has it too and we discover she is pregnant, then we anticipate a conflict right there. it comes in as Jakob. Come Fireman and introduction to Camp Wyndham, we get by through a few pages with an introduction to the camp and the people and their cure for 'Spore, but once that's done, we're out of things that interest us or take the story any further. It's only Harper biding time. Cross' story, Cline and Mazz's story, Fireman's story - broken down into parts - and the thief's story, it was all pretty uninteresting and slows the book down.
With stone-in-mouth penance, and Mother Carol's atrocities, and camp's politics, it becomes partly interesting, coming to no plausible end.
But, from the time the Camp burns to ground and Harper, along with the others is on her own, until the end, it is a just an amazing ride. I could see the Hill I experienced in Nos4R2.
In spite of its weak sub-plots and dips in narration, you can pick it up and have fun. You will not be failed to be get entertained
A contagion referred to as Dragonscale is infecting people and causing them to, well, go up in smoke. Yes, it burns people alive. Most people that is. But there's a group who have figured how to survive and yes, even control the affliction. See it as a blessing even. They're in hiding from those who are healthy and determined to kill them off.
Okay, that was a quick in a nutshell outline, but it doesn't even begin to touch the breadth, width, depth, scope and inventiveness of Joe Hill's plotting. Epic saga is a good descriptor. The reader's heart is firmly in the camp with the infected. Hill's cast of characters is just as deep and detailed as his plot. The Fireman is at the heart of it - a man who has figured out how to use the fire, to control it. Nurse Willowes is the other main character, a woman who gets calmer and cooler when the situation heats up - all the while singing Mary Poppins songs. They're our main two, but Hill has populated the book with a rich, wide, varied cast of characters - all detailed and each with their own part to play in the book. Good and bad. I love ensemble novels and The Fireman has a wealth of memorable players.
So, I'm speeding through The Fireman - literally I can't put it down - and I hit page 500. And realize I am racing towards the end. And I don't want to finish the book. But I was helpless to stop reading. Hill is one heck of a storyteller. There was no 'down' time. The plot changes and evolves and keeps running faster and faster towards the inevitable outcome. Duplicity, danger and action are woven tightly together with love, friendship, loss - and survival. The final pages did not provide quite the ending I had hoped for, but it was the right one. Everything - plot, dialogue, descriptions and more flows so easily and effortlessly - Hill really has a way with words.
One of my all time fave reads is Stephen King's The Stand. The Fireman has that same epic quest, journey of the embattled underdogs, post apocalyptic survival, battle of good and evil tone mixed with a little Lord of the Flies, The Walking Dead and a dash of Fahrenheit 451. Yup, one helluva hot read.
It took Joe Hill four years to write the 750 pages of The Fireman - and it took me four days to devour it. Fans of The Stand and Justin Cronin's Passage series need to add The Fireman to the 'keeper' shelf of their home libraries. Now, this was my first Joe Hill book, but it sure isn't going to be my last.
Harper Grayson is a nurse working at a school (and then a hospital) when the end of the world begins. Dragonscale is a spore that decorates the infected with beautiful writing on the skin. It also makes the infected prone to blowing themselves up during times of stress or danger. A person infected with Dragonscale naturally ends up being shunned and hunted by society.
While helping the infected at the hospital, Harper eventually ends up getting infected. To make matters more complicated, she has unexpected news for her husband. This gives rise to a situation where she has to end up running away from him. A great part of the story take place at Camp Wyndham. The camp is inhabited by hundreds of people who have learned to appreciate the infection as a gift which can be controlled and used to bond with each other.
The entire story is told from Harper's POV. While Harper is a courageous and good human being under difficult circumstances, the story ends up getting monotonous. The pop culture references also ended up being too much. GoT, Harry Potter, Narnia, LOTR'.you name it. The resemblances with Stephen King's 'The Stand' are only limited a few names and a couple of coincidental characteristics. Naturally, these similarities are kept to a minimum.
Overall, the book could have been so much better if told in multiple POVs and made shorter.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The first half of this book starts out fantastic. We see the slow decline of mankind and experience it with the main character, Harper. I can't really think of any disease more terrifying than one that could cause you to spontaneously combust without any sort of warning. I liked Harper for the most part, but she was pretty generic. Kind of a cardboard cut out nurse.
Of course, at about the halfway point, we do meet the thing more terrifying than the disease that causes you to spontaneously combust, self preserving, panicked humans. I think Carol is the most terrifying, but there is also Jakob Grayson, the Marlboro Man, and a whole slew of others. A good horror story all around. The horror never seems to end for Harper and her friends.
By that I mean, this book never seems to end. Don't get me wrong, I don't object to books being long. In fact- I like long. I think my objection to the length of this book comes from a lack of focus or clear direction. First the antagonist is the dragon scale itself, then it's her husband, Jakob Grayson, then its group think and Carol Storey, then it's the Governor of Maine. I thought this book was over when I was at the 75% mark. It felt over. We reached a huge climax, overcame it, and moved on. It should have ended. I thought that other 25% was acknowledgements and book previews, etc., etc. as my kindle app so often tells me I'm only 75% finished when the book is actually done. I was ready for someone to put these characters out of their misery.
That being said- I did enjoy the story overall. I like the fireman character. I adored Nick. I felt bad about Mr. Truffles. That seemed unnecessary. The horror was real. I will definitely keep on with Joe Hill. I don't think the drawn out ending outweighed the good story telling here, but it wasn't NOS4A2. If you want to read Joe Hill and haven't checked out NOS4A2 yet- start with that one.
The tale is dark for much of the book, but throughout there is a golden thread of hope that keeps you going. It's actually quite uplifting at times, a lot of which is due to the main character's charm and appeal. Harper is wonderfully developed. She has good values and the caring demeanor of a true nurse, but she's also flawed in that she tends to let people walk over her - not seeing sometimes that she's being repressed. I also love that she can be delightfully bawdy at times. I enjoyed all of the characters in The Fireman - the good and the evil - including the eponymous character himself. The Fireman (John Rookwood) is delightfully complex as well - heroic, funny, a protector, but also too proud and not able to let go of the past. The flaws of the characters make them so much more real and relatable.
I highly recommend The Fireman. I was thrilled to learn that it's to be made into a movie - I will definitely make a point of seeing it. This is a book I will also reread from time to time - like visiting an old friend. If you haven't read Joe Hill's other books and short stories, do yourself a big favor and do so. You won't be disappointed.
Thank you, Joe Hill, for such a wonderful story. It's rife with the failings of humankind, but also full of heart and hope. You're a fierce talent, and I look forward to your next work.
Honestly, the worst thing I can say about this book is that it was boring, and in the end, I didn't really care who lived or died. I had no emotional attachment to any of the characters. I can't help but feel like this book could have benefited mightily from a better editor who could trim it down from 600-plus pages to 300.