The End of October
In this riveting medical thriller--from the Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author--Dr. Henry Parsons, an unlikely but appealing hero, races to find the origins and cure of a mysterious new killer virus as it brings the world to its knees.
At an internment camp in Indonesia, forty-seven people are pronounced dead with acute hemorrhagic fever. When Henry Parsons--microbiologist, epidemiologist--travels there on behalf of the World Health Organization to investigate, what he finds will soon have staggering repercussions across the globe: an infected man is on his way to join the millions of worshippers in the annual Hajj to Mecca. Now, Henry joins forces with a Saudi prince and doctor in an attempt to quarantine the entire host of pilgrims in the holy city . . . A Russian émigré, a woman who has risen to deputy director of U.S. Homeland Security, scrambles to mount a response to what may be an act of biowarfare . . . Already-fraying global relations begin to snap, one by one, in the face of a pandemic . . . Henry's wife, Jill, and their children face diminishing odds of survival in Atlanta . . . And the disease slashes across the United States, dismantling institutions--scientific, religious, governmental--and decimating the population. As packed with suspense as it is with the fascinating history of viral diseases, Lawrence Wright has given us a full-tilt, electrifying, one-of-a-kind thriller.
“A fast-paced thriller with big, sweeping, made-for-the-adapted-screenplay action sequences . . . The End of October is the perfect novel for a long airplane flight or a beach chair. Provided, of course, our real-life leaders are a bit more effective than Wright’s fictional ones, and we’re all once again able to encounter either of those this year.” —Scott Detrow, NPR
“A swift and all-too-convincing chronicle of science, espionage, action and speculation that moves from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia to the U.S. as it eerily evokes real-life current events. Deeply rooted in factual research, The End of October may well prove the most frightening novel of the year.” —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
“To say that Wright’s new novel [is] prescient would be an understatement. This is the novel as Nostradamus . . . I couldn’t stop reading it . . . If the world reads this today, we might be able to avoid Wright’s tomorrow.” —Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail
“Some works of fiction seem ripped from the headlines. Others anticipate the news, providing a prophetic vision of our future. Lawrence Wright's new novel, The End of October,belongs in the rare second category.” —Daniel Burke, CNN
“As a distinguished journalist and author of several highly successful factual books, Wright approached this just as he would any other journalistic assignment, carrying out detailed research and preparation. As he went from expert to expert he heard clear warnings that something like the coronavirus would happen. It was a question not so much of 'if' but 'when,' and crucially, many asked how prepared governments would be to cope with it . . . Is truth stranger than fiction, as the American writer Mark Twain once suggested? Now we all have a chance to judge for ourselves.” —Jonathan Marcus, BBC
“The propulsive plot is counterweighted with rigorous, gracefully presented context on the history and behavior of diseases . . . Reading The End of October, though, I felt oddly soothed.” —Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic