The Fireman: A Novel

Paperback | May 17, 2016

byJoe Hill

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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.

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From the Publisher

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 acro...

Joe Hill is the shortened name for Joseph Hillstrom King. He was born in Maine in 1972 and is the son of Tabitha and Stephen King. He used this shortened form of his name in order to succeed as a writer on his own merits, not because of his famous father. In 2007 he publicly confirmed his identity. His first book, 20th Century Ghost, r...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:768 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.54 inPublished:May 17, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062565338

ISBN - 13:9780062565334

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Customer Reviews of The Fireman: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epic! I am a huge fan of post apocalyptic novels. What would the world be like if it all went to crap one day? It all does in Joe Hill's novel, The Fireman, newly released in paperback. And I'm kicking myself for not reading this book in hardcover. Twenty pages in and I knew it was going to be an amazing read. 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.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It !! One of the best books of 2016 Joe hill at his best
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyed it! Dragonscale is sweeping the world, burning people and leaving nothing but ash. Maine is a charred wasteland and people hunt those with dragonscale to kill them. Harper works at the local hospital to try and help those sick as much as she can but even the hospital isn't safe. When that goes up in smoke, Harper finds out she has the disease. Harper and her husband made a suicide pact when this disease first started spreading but now that Harper finds out she's pregnant, she's not so interested in killing herself. He husband, who isn't sick, still thinks she should die. <br><BR>Harper escapes to a camp that hides those with Dragonscale with the help of the fireman. They have found a way to control their disease, which gives Harper hope that she'll be able to live with her baby. But with more than 100 people in this camp, there are 'Lord of the Flies'-type social problems at the camp. <br><BR>I really enjoy apocalyptic stories because of the imagination that it takes to come up with what kills off most people and how people are coping with it. This is a unique disease and a unique way of dealing with it. Of course, at the core of it this book isn't about the scale. This is just the icing on the cake. But it's really nice icing. <br><BR>The core of this book is Harper, her relationship with her husband and the fireman, and how these hundred folks with dragonscale create (or destroy) a community they've built up for themselves. Harper, for the most part seems pretty sensible. She's a nurse, she loves Mary Poppins, and she gets rightfully annoyed at people. Her ex-husband is a piece of work that wants to kill her and her new love interest and create birds made of fire. Then there's the community, which is full of a whole bunch of interesting characters. <br><BR>While I really enjoyed this book, I won't give it a perfect review for two reasons. First, I feel like the book could have lost a hundred or two pages and not lost anything in the story. Second, because Harper and the fireman fall in love after only talking to each other or seeing each other 3 times, which is completely unrealistic. <BR><BR>I still recommend this one though!
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing I think I put a solid effort in trying to read this book. Unfortunately, its not enjoyable. I found myself reading it in search of the 'good parts', and they weren't there for me. In my opinion, the only thing Joe Hill was successful in doing with The Fireman was create a range of characters from boring (Harper, The Fireman) to unlikeable (most of the Camp dwellers) to downright loathsome (Jakob, Carol). There must be something in this book for people to like, since it has very favourable reviews, but I just don't care about the characters enough to keep following them. Oh well.
Date published: 2016-12-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun! I’m not sure why, but I’m not generally a fan of “end of the world as we know it” type of books. I’ve read quite a few, but I just never seem to love them. The Fireman, however, is an exception – I really enjoyed this book! It’s epic, intense, graphic, gory – and you can tell Joe Hill had a lot of fun writing it. There are some amazing quotable moments in this book as well, this one is a favourite: The Hens are clucking. Harper thought it would be a toss-up, which term for women she hated more: bitch or hen. A hen was something you kept in a cage, and her sole worth was in her eggs. A bitch, at least, had teeth. Another solid work from Joe Hill, I’ve really been enjoying working through his catalog! I hope to finally get around to reading The Stand soon, I know there are a lot of references to it in this book.
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Future is Warm Witty and wry with characters the reader can connect with. Hill comments on the environment, cultural disenfranchisement, the dangerous connection between religion and power; all topical and amusingly encased with a touch of horror, sci-fi and incredibly funny cultural references. So good, I bought a hard copy for my library after borrowing it. A highly under rated writer.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from new spin on dystopian universe This offers a whole new look at what happens when a new contagion is released. Joe Hill has added little nods to The Stand that add to the story but at the same time created a world all his own. My only complaint is the ending felt like a different novel with certain details that were unnecessary. Interesting read for fans of Joe Hill.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting how society deals with a new plague Humanity is being challenged by a deadly new plague. A spore, commonly referred to as Dragonscale, infiltrates the body eventually resulting in the afflicted going up in flames. Everyone is afraid that they are going to catch the scale The knee jerk reaction is to round up the sick, kill them and burn their bodies to stop the infection. That sure says a lot about society when the experts don't even know how the spore spreads. Author Joe Hill follows the lives of Harper, her husband Jakob and a man known as the Fireman. The three follow diverse paths during the course of this epidemic. I feel that each of these people are essential to the story even if I don't like one of them from the very first time we met. They represent the very different ways in which people respond to tragedy. This is a well constructed story. I particularly like that a huge back story on the characters is not needed. We learn about the dragonscale and how it affects people in the present and then move forward. It doesn't matter what they did earlier in their lives, only what they do after the plague starts. I find the descriptions of the flames compelling. I can imagine them as a living being and not just a result of combustion. This is a long book and it took me a while to read, though I didn't feel it was too long and that things could have been left out. I would have preferred a few events not to happen, but then again, I am an optimist and like my stories being happy.
Date published: 2016-09-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from "Great read" This was my first Joe Hill novel. I truly enjoyed this book it was very engaging. Had a good time reading it. Never thought once I should put it down do to it's size. This story is original, well thought out. Joe has created fascinating characters . I particularly enjoyed his style of writing. He is witty and cleaver. At the end of every chapter you just want to go on reading. I also enjoyed how he managed to include things like Mary Poppins, Harry Potter and other stories. I thought this was awesome. He has put a great deal of work and thought in this novel and it showed in the book. I will certainly be picking up his other books. I give it a 5 star Why 1- writing style 2-Story was captivating 3-Good twist and turns 4-Love the details with regards to how the spores and infection worked. 5- I especially enjoyed the characters. 6-Love the wit and humor
Date published: 2016-08-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hot Apocalypse I am a huge Joe Hill fan, and this story did not disappoint. John and Harper are wonderful characters, they make me laugh (which is no easy feat when the world is turning to ash all around you). You can see in the description that this is a very different kind of plague. Not necessarily 100 % fatal. Definitely 100% entertaining.
Date published: 2016-05-19

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Editorial Reviews

“[Horns is] devilishly good. . . . Hill is a terrific writer with a great imagination. He has a special talent for taking us and his characters to very weird places.”