The Fireman

  • by Joe Hill
  • Narrated by Kate Mulgrew
  • 22 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Some flames burn too brightly to be extinguished.
This exceptional new thriller from Joe Hill is essential reading for 2016 and perfect for fans of Justin Cronin's The Passage.
In a world overtaken by a deadly and dramatic new virus, Harper is determined to live long enough to deliver her baby. But when all it takes is a spark to start a deadly blaze, she's going to need some help from the mysterious fireman.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Spark Off The Old Block!

An epic, smoke-filled, blazing star of a book! Joe Hill brings something different to the post-Apocalyptic genre. A creeping disease of deadly fire backed with strong and fully rounded characters. A story that follows a small number of survivors as they try to negotiate the two tier society of the “infected” and the “healthy”.

Although epic in length Hill never really tries to encompass the global impact of such a crisis. Instead he works his characters through scenes that are increasingly harrowing and with growing levels of incendiary violence and poetically described horror. There are scenes particularly in the church that will have the hairs on the back of your neck quivering! He brings through the polarisation of human nature and at one point even seems to ape an Orwellian feel casting echoes of the brilliant Animal Farm. This is about journeys of discovery. It’s about people who can cope with the situation no matter what it throws at them, people whose baser nature is brought to the fore by the situation and even those that are crushed by it.

In amongst the tension, violence and horror there are genuine periods spent developing the characters and their relationships. These sections may at times seem flatter but I don’t think they are wasted and they add to the overall feel of the book. I’ll confess it did feel a bit out of place having a lead character with much of Mary Poppins within her. You’ll see what I mean not long into the book. Even that however won me over as it provided a delicious incongruence to the abject horror of some of the scenes. A spoonful of sugar to take to ward off the sheer nastiness and unrelenting hatred of some of the less pleasant characters. A really clever touch.

The narration by Kate Mulgrew is very, very good. I can only imagine how hard it is to keep up that level of intensity across practically a solid day’s worth of narration. She doesn’t have the greatest of variety in character voicings but she does convey tension, excitement and emotion extremely well.

In summary, an excellent novel, much like his father’s in many ways but with his own originality quite literally burned in. The acid test for a book I often find is how much I want the characters to come out of it and believe me I was cheering for these ones!

This book will keep you guessing right to the very end about who might survive and who might not. An excellent effort and I shall look forwards to more from Joe Hill. I guess we should expect no less from the son of the master of such fiction!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not stop listening when the credits start at the end . . . .

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- Simon

Not a classic, very poor narration

What would have made The Fireman better?

The narrator should not have tried to do accents, her English was cringe making. Joe's grasp of a story here was poor, filling it in with quotes from old songs to add a little atmosphere & some of the writing was adolescent at best.

Has The Fireman put you off other books in this genre?


What didn’t you like about Kate Mulgrew’s performance?

She was making the most of a really poorly written script, but her English accent was beyond the pale, every time the Fireman had something to say I wanted to fast forward.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It had potential to be a great story, but the narrator just put me totally off.

Any additional comments?

Really poorly written, including, at one stage, a woman who had just given birth being described as "sore".

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- Mr. Paul Wilde

Book Details

  • Release Date: 17-05-2016
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group