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: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco incendia trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that tattoos its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks—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 now 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 stay alive 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 once-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 anyone they believe carries the spore. 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.
In his biggest, most ambitious and powerful novel to date, acclaimed, award-winning novelist Joe Hill paints an indelible portrait of a world burning out of control, and explores the combustible effect of fear and the desperate choices we make to survive. . . . The Fireman is coming.