counter create hit The End of October - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The End of October

Availability: Ready to download

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--micr 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.


Compare
Ads Banner

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--micr 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.

30 review for The End of October

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roxane

    There may be spoilers ahead. I will say that a lot of research went into this book. This is not a lazily written book but it is poorly written. Sometimes, when a writer does a lot of research and wants the reader to know they are a credible expert on their subject, they make fiction seem like nonfiction. If you want a primer on pandemics (TIMELY), then sure, this book offers something useful. The problem is that there are just pages upon pages of what are, essentially, lectures on pandemics, vacc There may be spoilers ahead. I will say that a lot of research went into this book. This is not a lazily written book but it is poorly written. Sometimes, when a writer does a lot of research and wants the reader to know they are a credible expert on their subject, they make fiction seem like nonfiction. If you want a primer on pandemics (TIMELY), then sure, this book offers something useful. The problem is that there are just pages upon pages of what are, essentially, lectures on pandemics, vaccines, biological warfare, US Russian relations, etc. It's interesting that this book was written well before the coronavirus because so much of it is prescient. Wright did a good job of anticipating what might happen in a global pandemic and unfortunately, much of what he predicts as part of the novel's plot, is already happening. There are some ludicrous plot holes. The protagonist, Henry, is one of the most important epidemiologists in the world and no government can get him a flight back to the US? Really? He works for the CDC, and again, is super important, but he can't make sure his family is secure? Sometimes his disability gets in the way, sometimes it is completely forgotten in the narrative. He pretends to convert to Islam because, well, reasons. And girl, I guess. And then after hundreds of pages, he wraps up the ending by skipping past like ten scenes we needed to see to understand the ending. O M G. Sir! What? This is not my area of expertise but the depiction of disability seems realllly problematic. There are some confounding flashbacks that are not well tied to the present day narrative. There are shifts in POV to characters who are never developed. So much is happening that is not good. A character will do something, and then the author will explain why that character did that thing even though it is always, always, patently obvious. There are all these unnecessary and extensive expository ramblings. Nearly every scene ends with an editorial aside. It's kind of... shocking just how unfortunate some of the writing is. As a writer I take no pleasure in saying this because writing a book is hard work and, like I said, the amount of work that went into this book is plainly obvious. It just forgot that it was supposed to be a novel. Writing is hard.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Donna Backshall

    It's difficult to believe The End of October was written just before the *ish* hit the global fan a couple months ago. If I'd read The End of October, say, last fall, I'd have said "Cool speculative fiction, but wow, people wouldn't suck that bad in a real crisis, would they?" Now I'm just nodding and thinking "Yep. That happened. And that too. We didn't measure up any better." Lawrence Wright pretty much nailed the political finger-pointing and lack of preparedness, the world economy deteriorati It's difficult to believe The End of October was written just before the *ish* hit the global fan a couple months ago. If I'd read The End of October, say, last fall, I'd have said "Cool speculative fiction, but wow, people wouldn't suck that bad in a real crisis, would they?" Now I'm just nodding and thinking "Yep. That happened. And that too. We didn't measure up any better." Lawrence Wright pretty much nailed the political finger-pointing and lack of preparedness, the world economy deterioration, the fear, the cover-ups, the shameful selfishness, everything. We know how realistic this book is and how well Wright predicted the world's reaction to a pandemic because IT JUST HAPPENED AND IT'S STILL HAPPENING. We haven't experienced (yet?) the population decimating extreme of his book -- since Kongoli launches from a massive pilgrimage to Mecca and spreads by those pilgrims to every populated area on the planet in the blink of an eye -- but still, it rings all too true. Almost four million times true, and very definitely still counting. I need time to absorb this. I blazed through this book, the bulk of it yesterday and today, because I couldn't put it down. Absolutely marking this as one of this year's favorites, and possibly will need to re-read. There's a lot to learn here.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    4.5 stars. Lawrence Wright is an esteemed journalist and author. Among his many honours is his Pulitzer Prize for the non-fiction book, The Looming Tower about the rise of al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11. This is a meticulously researched book in the form of a novel. It contains much factual information about historic epidemics and their rampage through the worlds’ population and the social, political and economic aftermath. It also provided details of cyberattacks, bio-warfare and experimentatio 4.5 stars. Lawrence Wright is an esteemed journalist and author. Among his many honours is his Pulitzer Prize for the non-fiction book, The Looming Tower about the rise of al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11. This is a meticulously researched book in the form of a novel. It contains much factual information about historic epidemics and their rampage through the worlds’ population and the social, political and economic aftermath. It also provided details of cyberattacks, bio-warfare and experimentation with pathogens. Written before the present COVID pandemic, the author displays a mastery of historic details and scientific information. This is a chilling, prophetic novel forecasting what is happening now all over the world. The Kongoli virus described in this work of fiction is more deadly than the fearsome present Coronavirus. The amount of information early in the book was overwhelming. I felt that the character of Dr. Henry Parsons was only there to connect parts of the narrative and move the story along. Dr. Henry is sent to Indonesia by WHO. He is considered the leading epidemiologist in infectious diseases. There has been an outbreak of a disease of unknown origin in an Indonesian camp killing dozens of young men. Members of Doctors Without Borders have also died. It was evident that a coverup of the disease was underway. Dr. Henry was initially refused entrance and told the men were terrorists who were executed. When Dr. Henry finally examines the dead and dying, he realizes that this is a new, unknown viral disease. It has characteristics of the Coronavirus but is also similar to Ebola which manifests itself by hemorrhagic fever, bleeding from the eyes and other parts of the body while the lungs dissolve. The Kongoli pandemic moves from Indonesia to Mecca at the time of the annual hajj. Despite efforts to contain it, there are many deaths. Pilgrims returning to their home countries before the quarantine is enforced spread the contagion. It is also being transported by avian migration. We see the horrific symptoms of the disease through the eyes of Dr. Henry Parsons. The borders of Saudi Arabia are closed and planes grounded. Dr. Henry is a small man, bent and deformed by rickets and using a cane. He has a loving family in Atlanta and is desperate to return to them. This is impossible since the country is in lockdown. He becomes friendly with Majid, a doctor and Saudi Prince. He and Dr. Henry discuss philosophy, religion, and how to best deal with the disease. Henry reveals to Majid the shocking truth of his young boyhood and how he developed rickets, a story he has never told anyone. Partway through the book, the story becomes character-driven. Dr. Henry and his family become compelling, well-developed characters. The heroic Majid helps Henry escape the country. He begins the ordeal of making his way back home to his family. America, by this time, is in desperate condition. Millions have died. The president and vice-president resemble Trump and Spence. There is disharmony within the government and many politicians have died. The electricity, phones and internet are down. Looters and criminal gangs are roaming mostly empty cities, food is scarce, hoarders have emptied stores. There are rumours that the virus has been engineered as a weapon, and Russia is blamed for cyberattacks causing the loss of power. Some political figures are demanding war, either by nuclear attacks or germ warfare. Survivors are urged to practice social distancing, and there is a prediction that a new wave of the disease will be coming. There is a villainous character, Dr. Jurgen, who once worked with Dr. Henry, and has much influence. The fear, stress, and tribulations of Dr. Henry’s family, left on their own, play a major part in the story. Will they be safe in all the turmoil? Will he find his family again in the fractured, bankrupt country? This is a frightening, riveting story that provides the reader with a better understanding of virus-borne diseases. Like in our present pandemic, there was great pressure in the story to quickly find a cure and to make an effective serum to innoculate people against the disease. There is also their scarcity of protective equipment. I hope that the author will write a book in the future chronicling the COVID-19 pandemic.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 Scared the bejesus out of me. Keep in mind this was written before Covid, and the parallels are beyond astonishing. A pandemic breaks out, but in China but in Indonesia, ravishing the world. People die, countries shut down, no cure, no vaccine. Henry, in my reading mind I pictured Fauci, is the man in charge, trying to find a cure. There is a subplot, one as frightening if not more so, the shutdown if everything we count on to make our country run. I'll stop there, no spoilers. Breakneck pace 3.5 Scared the bejesus out of me. Keep in mind this was written before Covid, and the parallels are beyond astonishing. A pandemic breaks out, but in China but in Indonesia, ravishing the world. People die, countries shut down, no cure, no vaccine. Henry, in my reading mind I pictured Fauci, is the man in charge, trying to find a cure. There is a subplot, one as frightening if not more so, the shutdown if everything we count on to make our country run. I'll stop there, no spoilers. Breakneck pace, an adventure story that hits hard and close to home. Can see this on the big screen in the future. Intense at times, and uncanny. They do say fiction can be stranger than fact, and this proves the saying.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    Lawrence Wright’s new novel, ‘The End of October’ delivers a prescient account of a pandemic and its effect on the world and the USA. Who could have guessed that the world would be suffering from a major pandemic at just the time that Wright’s book was published? He began writing it in 2017 and finished it during the summer of 2019. It packs a punch and will resonate with many readers as its characters go through the worry and anxiety of a flu-like virus that possibly begins in Indonesia. At lea Lawrence Wright’s new novel, ‘The End of October’ delivers a prescient account of a pandemic and its effect on the world and the USA. Who could have guessed that the world would be suffering from a major pandemic at just the time that Wright’s book was published? He began writing it in 2017 and finished it during the summer of 2019. It packs a punch and will resonate with many readers as its characters go through the worry and anxiety of a flu-like virus that possibly begins in Indonesia. At least that is where our main character, Henry Parsons will first encounter the virus in a refugee camp in Kongoli. An epidemiologist sent on behalf of WHO, Henry has seen death before, but nothing like the brutal scene at the camp. ”Every disease had its vulnerabilities, and Henry had made a career out of being the best at understanding the strategy of an alien infection, figuring out its next move, imagining the brilliant counter. Eventually, he would win, if he had time. Some diseases didn’t give you time, and then you relied on luck. He had been lucky, until now.” What I enjoyed most about this novel is feeling like I’m in the hands of an expert. Wright won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2007 for, “The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, a book I have not read, but I did watch the TV series, and found it informative and skillfully rendered. Although this book is fiction, Wright lays its foundation with facts. The first victims of the virus are “gay Muslims with HIV.” Henry concludes this may be problematic, knowing that “diseases have a history of stirring up conspiracies. Jews were held responsible for the Black Plague in the fourteenth century, and they were massacred in hundreds of European cities, including two thousand Jews burned alive in Strasbourg, France, on Valentine’s Day, 1379.” How strange it is to read about such a lethal epidemic while going through the coronavirus pandemic. It reinforces a lot of anxiety and makes me want to grow a garden, save seeds, and prepare for a future of food insecurity. That's the power of Wright's central theme, an uncertain future battling unknown viruses. Wright weaves a supremely believable tale of modern world powers dangling the hangman’s noose of disorder to see who will come out on top. Chaos and disease are convivial companions. While Henry becomes involved in tracking down his taxi driver to prevent the further spread of this very lethal virus, his wife, Jill, daughter, Helen, and son, Teddy are left to endure the trials of what’s happening back home. With a plot-driven narrative, character development is a bit on the thin side, but the characters gain my empathy. Wright excels at intrigues, scientific and political knowledge, and spinning a thriller that seems to speak of one of humanity’s possible destinies.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    This book was fast paced and entertaining and the author obviously did a lot of research before writing it. I’ve read a lot of escaped-killer-virus books, but I never thought I would be living inside one. This book was not better than the others I have read, but it’s huge advantage is it’s timeliness. It was told from the point of view of a scientist who was separated from his family as the virus that was first seen in an Indonesian detention camp spread around the world. It also included the st This book was fast paced and entertaining and the author obviously did a lot of research before writing it. I’ve read a lot of escaped-killer-virus books, but I never thought I would be living inside one. This book was not better than the others I have read, but it’s huge advantage is it’s timeliness. It was told from the point of view of a scientist who was separated from his family as the virus that was first seen in an Indonesian detention camp spread around the world. It also included the struggle to survive of his wife and young children. I think that the pandemic story would have been dramatic enough without layering on a Middle Eastern war and a cyberattack. I also think that the ending of the book was flat and unsatisfying.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Hello readers -- I rarely give 5 stars to a fiction book but this one completely blew me away! To say that it is prescient and timely is an understatement. If you have a desire to really understand what is going on in the world right now, this is a novel that you cannot afford to miss! It is shocking and absorbing with so much information that I can't even relay it in a review. I was overcome with so many emotions as I read this and I think it is one that every sentient being on the planet canno Hello readers -- I rarely give 5 stars to a fiction book but this one completely blew me away! To say that it is prescient and timely is an understatement. If you have a desire to really understand what is going on in the world right now, this is a novel that you cannot afford to miss! It is shocking and absorbing with so much information that I can't even relay it in a review. I was overcome with so many emotions as I read this and I think it is one that every sentient being on the planet cannot afford to miss this year. It starts with a few cases in an Indonesian camp set aside for Muslims with HIV. Termed the Kongoli virus, this is a killer unlike anything seen since the pandemic Spanish Flu of 1918. As it infects the entire world, there are only a few who understand what has happened and its ramifications. Doctor and epidemiologist, Henry Parsons, is one of those few. His history is unusual, he's gone around the globe fighting epidemics of horrific proportion. "Science knows no borders, nor does disease -- especially a disease that can literally fly across international boundaries." This novel explores the nature of a virus unlike any that has occurred in recent human history and its aftermath is beyond chilling. "Disease was more powerful than armies. Disease was more arbitrary than terrorists. Disease was crueler than human imagination." The entire world is under attack and there is no treatment for the scourge affecting the world population. There are no spoilers here but I urge you to read this chilling story of a world in ruins. The writing and research involved in this novel are of epic proportions. The science, the human component, the political fallout are all so vividly described. If you only read one book this year, I urge you to pick up this one. I know it's going to be tough as you sit in self-quarantine lock-down with little information on our own situation with COVID-19, but the message within is extremely powerful and must be communicated. Don't be complacent. "But nature is not a stable force. It evolves, it changes, and it never comes complacent." Our way of life, our civilization, our future depends on us getting a handle on these organisms and saving humanity. This is real. And I realize this is a work of fiction, but it is so eerily close to what is happening now that it totally petrified me. Maybe you don't have the stomach or nerve to read this now while you are sitting at home in isolation and worrying about your family and your job, but I'm telling you that our lives are now entering into the phase of nightmare and this book puts it all out there. Thank you to NetGalley and Alfred A. Knopf Publishers for this e-book ARC to read, review, and highly recommend. DO NOT MISS IT. https://www.amazon.com/review/R3L5AZZ...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Jeffers

    Most advance copies of books include a letter from the editor or publicist explaining what's so great about the book. This one includes a letter from the author that starts: "I pray that the events depicted in The End of October never happen. But could they?"This book was obviously conceived and written before the current pandemic began, but its timing is chilling given what Lawrence Wright was able to predict regarding what we are experiencing. His predictions are not that shocking, though, bec Most advance copies of books include a letter from the editor or publicist explaining what's so great about the book. This one includes a letter from the author that starts: "I pray that the events depicted in The End of October never happen. But could they?"This book was obviously conceived and written before the current pandemic began, but its timing is chilling given what Lawrence Wright was able to predict regarding what we are experiencing. His predictions are not that shocking, though, because this book was thoroughly researched and Wright was producing a story that many immunologists and medical professionals knew could happen. Because of this, The End of October often feels like a well-written piece of narrative nonfiction and that's where its greatest strengths lie. The Kongoli virus described here is hemorrhagic, meaning it's more closely related to Ebola than to COVID-19, and it is spread from Indonesia to the rest of the world in part because of Muslim pilgrimages and avian migration. But there's a lot of scientific explanations that are relevant to the world in the spring of 2020. If this were nonfiction, it would be a 4- or 5-star read for sure. When it comes time for character development and tying a plot together, however, I found this book to be fairly lacking. The characters remain relatively one-dimensional and the subplots involving global politics—war between Iran and Russia, terrorism in the Middle East—sometimes feel forced into the overall narrative, especially early when it's not clear why Wright is including these elements. I don't think this book would be particularly notable if it was not being coincidentally published amidst the very situation it describes, but reading it while in quarantine was definitely a unique experience.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Want to know even more about viruses and pandemics? Wright’s latest novel will provide you with the history of both. He incorporates accounts of major epidemics, descriptions of Russian biowarfare capabilities, and other nonfiction facts. As long as the novel sticks to the pandemic plot-line, the book is excellent. It is striking how close the details of the unfolding pandemic in the novel parallel our own COVID-19 experience. Makes one wonder why the U.S. wasn’t more prepared if all this inform Want to know even more about viruses and pandemics? Wright’s latest novel will provide you with the history of both. He incorporates accounts of major epidemics, descriptions of Russian biowarfare capabilities, and other nonfiction facts. As long as the novel sticks to the pandemic plot-line, the book is excellent. It is striking how close the details of the unfolding pandemic in the novel parallel our own COVID-19 experience. Makes one wonder why the U.S. wasn’t more prepared if all this information was out there for any researcher to uncover. Unfortunately, Wright uses the Kongoli flu pandemic as only one aspect of his thriller. There are disreputable scientists turned ecofascists, geopolitical shenanigans, and conspiracy theories that defy believability. He should have just focused on the pandemic story-line where his stellar research shines.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Judith E

    Lawrence Wright explains the history and tenacity of viruses that humans have encountered. Through the undeveloped plot and lightweight characters, he illustrates how a pandemic can start a domino effect and then how society goes to hell in a hand basket. I found the references to Russian and Chinese organized attacks via cyber sabotage and the Chinese lack of transparency during outbreaks to be the most interesting and frightening. Since I Googled to fact check these underground activities, I e Lawrence Wright explains the history and tenacity of viruses that humans have encountered. Through the undeveloped plot and lightweight characters, he illustrates how a pandemic can start a domino effect and then how society goes to hell in a hand basket. I found the references to Russian and Chinese organized attacks via cyber sabotage and the Chinese lack of transparency during outbreaks to be the most interesting and frightening. Since I Googled to fact check these underground activities, I expect the NSA, CIA, FBI, and the Sheriff to come a-knockin’ shortly ;)

  11. 4 out of 5

    David Yoon

    Let's give credit where credit is due. Lawrence Wright does his research. He won the Pulitzer for non-fiction for his examination of Al-Qaed. He followed that up with an expose on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology which got turned into an HBO Documentary. Now he's trained his eye on a possible pandemic for this fictional thriller. How did he do? Well, we have a mysterious influenza virus that originates in Asia in the Spring of 2020 that sends economies into a tailspin, shuts down schools, overwhelm Let's give credit where credit is due. Lawrence Wright does his research. He won the Pulitzer for non-fiction for his examination of Al-Qaed. He followed that up with an expose on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology which got turned into an HBO Documentary. Now he's trained his eye on a possible pandemic for this fictional thriller. How did he do? Well, we have a mysterious influenza virus that originates in Asia in the Spring of 2020 that sends economies into a tailspin, shuts down schools, overwhelms hospitals, has the American government playing catch-up while battling disinformation and wild conspiracies. Not too shabby. The thing is his endgame is the near complete breakdown of human civilization. This was prompted by a question from Ridley Scott who, after reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road, wondered what would nudge humanity to this dystopian hellscape? And so he ups the ante with a bomb in Rome, rising tensions in the Middle East, and a Cold War threatening to go nuclear with Russia sabotaging critical American infrastructure. Things get pretty dark. And here's where it veers into airport thriller territory. Unlikely hero, short, stooped and in need of a cane while being the foremost expert in disease that sees him traipsing the globe in a helicopter, private jet and a fast-attack submarine - naturally. He goes from hobnobbing with Middle Eastern royalty to working in the midst of viral hotspots. It's Dan Brown writing a pandemic novel. So the writing isn't exactly the sharpest, but it's no less a page-turner. Where you find yourself gulping in nervous anticipation is how much he got right so far, and how much more death he predicts will arrive come the End of October.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Proustitute

    ... shelter in place, wash your hands, don’t go out in public unless vitally necessary, and, if you do, wear a mask and sanitary gloves… Was this just the way it was going to be—the powerful, the rich, and the celebrated would be saved… Of course this was how it was bound to be. This is the country we’ve become. If we weren’t currently living through this novel’s speculative world of a global coronavirus pandemic, I’m not really sure Lawrence Wright’s The End of October would be of much intere ... shelter in place, wash your hands, don’t go out in public unless vitally necessary, and, if you do, wear a mask and sanitary gloves… Was this just the way it was going to be—the powerful, the rich, and the celebrated would be saved… Of course this was how it was bound to be. This is the country we’ve become. If we weren’t currently living through this novel’s speculative world of a global coronavirus pandemic, I’m not really sure Lawrence Wright’s The End of October would be of much interest: the characters are one-dimensional; the plot meanders, with long diatribes on infectious diseases, historical and research examples; and there are too many threads Wright attempts to weave together—the pandemic, conflict in the Middle East, the United States’ tense relationship with Russia—which seem to go nowhere in the end. But this is not the sort of novel that requires the reader to care about its characters, or their fates. It holds readers’ interests simply because we’re currently in the same situation as the characters are; while some may prefer escapist literature during a time like this, others are consoled by fact—there’s a reason why Dr. Anthony Fauci is something of a national treasure right now in America. And this is the strength of Wright’s work, which speaks more to his skill in research and his background as a journalist than his nonexistent talent as a novelist: he provides us with facts, with historical examples, studies done in 1918 with the so-called Spanish flu, examples from the Ebola outbreak. While mainstream news has made and drawn such parallels, it’s in a more general sense; Wright provides a lot of case studies, precarious treatments histories, and situates his imagined coronavirus pandemic within such factual and epidemiological truths. Had The End of October been published at another point in time, without COVID-19 causing global panic, anxiety, and stress, I doubt it would be receiving as much press as it currently is. The timing of the book’s publication is eerie and prescient, but it’s also reassuring just as it’s terrifying, and one who takes comfort in facts will find Wright’s novel the perfect read for our current times. Read it for the history of epidemics and pandemics, for the facts and historical information in which it is so well steeped; as a novel, however, it fails, but the nonfictional aspects are necessary to us all right now. If anyone should write the history of COVID-19 once (when?) this is all over, Wright should be the one: he damn well knows his stuff.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ilana

    4.5 rounded down, since I’m sparing with 5-star ratings. Roxane Gay found this novel problematic & poorly written, but as it happens, I couldn’t get through Bad Feminist despite being one myself because she comes off as having such a giant chip on her shoulder she reminds me of my obese abused & spiteful mother too much, so like, whatever, Roxane. A pandemic situation eerily close to our own, but with much more sinister implications (or so one fervently hopes). One of my favourite novels this ye 4.5 rounded down, since I’m sparing with 5-star ratings. Roxane Gay found this novel problematic & poorly written, but as it happens, I couldn’t get through Bad Feminist despite being one myself because she comes off as having such a giant chip on her shoulder she reminds me of my obese abused & spiteful mother too much, so like, whatever, Roxane. A pandemic situation eerily close to our own, but with much more sinister implications (or so one fervently hopes). One of my favourite novels this year. I’m too often underwhelmed by thrillers, which are plot driven & aren’t believable in any way, and while this novel certainly isn’t a literary masterpiece, it delivers the goods. The author explains many of the mechanisms and the history of pandemics, which some readers found tedious, but for me, that was a great part of the interest, all the more so since you can’t help make comparisons with our real live covid-19 pandemic. The story is well told, with good pacing that kept me rapt. The epidemiologist at the heart of the tale is a man of limited physical resources and deep spiritual scars, putting a nice spin on the whole concept of the virile, strong & stoic hero. Recommend if you can handle considering how much worse things could get.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book suffers from identity issues. Is it a a Dan Brown knockoff? A morality story? A non-fiction of pandemics? A global survey of pandemic preparedness? It is all of these, yet so scattered that it is successful at being none of them. Our main character, Henry, is the greatest epidemiologist the CDC has even known, we also flit around perspectives to his family, and a high level Homeland Security staffer. In a fun twist, we also go back in time to an indeterminate period before Henry worked a This book suffers from identity issues. Is it a a Dan Brown knockoff? A morality story? A non-fiction of pandemics? A global survey of pandemic preparedness? It is all of these, yet so scattered that it is successful at being none of them. Our main character, Henry, is the greatest epidemiologist the CDC has even known, we also flit around perspectives to his family, and a high level Homeland Security staffer. In a fun twist, we also go back in time to an indeterminate period before Henry worked at CDC. We also have time jumps in the main narrative to the point that I have no idea how long any particular event takes. The characters have little personality and no arcs to speak of. There are many villains, which fits with the post 9/11 America we know - every outsider is here to upend American Imperialism and fear drives policy (instead of models and common sense). Like a story with a global pandemic and that ostensibly has a main character doesn't also need to be on the cusp of war with Iran and Russia, have an electromagnetic pulse type deal bring down techonolgy, nuke troubles, "Don't Tread on Me" type farmers, etc etc and so on. The book could have all of these things if it had been episodic in instructure (like World War Z), but by trying to center everything around Henry and his family these sprawling concerns just make for tonal dissonance. We also get info dumps from Henry about the history of pandemics and viruses - and I think they're supposed to make the reader go "oooooh how clever", but instead cause the action to come to a halt. I think the publisher was wise to move up the publication date, and I think people will take comfort in the story - Covid 19 isn't this dramatic, if nothing else. I just wish more time had been taken to figure out what this book wanted to be. It could've been a great Dan Brown knockoff, but it aspires to more to its detriment. Thank you to the publisher, via Edelweiss for providing me with a copy for review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Corbin Whitaker

    I'm relieved that our current Coronavirus scare is nowhere near as bad as the Kongoli epidemic in this book; however, I'm left anxious about the horrific potential that could be found in future outbreaks of as-of-yet unknown diseases.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Gripping suspense as a new virus sweeps the world, world wide war looms, bio wars begin. Well-written and fast-paced. Most of all utterly, scarily, believable.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    The world doesn’t need one more person writing about just how prescient this book is, so I will focus instead on what didn’t quite hit the target. I admire Lawrence Wright’s narrative non-fiction writing for the wonderful novelistic flair that he brings to it. The Looming Tower is impressively informative while reading like a thriller. To his novel, The End of October, Wright brings a journalistic flair. I think it works better the other way around. The setting of The End of October is pretty mu The world doesn’t need one more person writing about just how prescient this book is, so I will focus instead on what didn’t quite hit the target. I admire Lawrence Wright’s narrative non-fiction writing for the wonderful novelistic flair that he brings to it. The Looming Tower is impressively informative while reading like a thriller. To his novel, The End of October, Wright brings a journalistic flair. I think it works better the other way around. The setting of The End of October is pretty much the world as we know it. The American president has a tanning bed, Putin is a major actor, the swine flu happened in 2009, etc. The third person narrator takes pains to describe real historical events and their implications for the novel’s characters. I found these lengthy non-fiction digressions jarring. Not only did they break the momentum of the plot, they also made me feel confused about what, in the world of the novel, was real and what wasn’t. Dwight Garner described The End of October as “a Tom Clancy book written by an intellectual.” I can agree with that statement. The novel is clearly well-researched. The problem is with the narration. Sometimes Wright's narrator tells us something that should simply be shown. (view spoiler)[The narrator really didn’t need to go on about the intimacy of the moment when Henry and Majid stitch up each other’s wounds; the action itself says it all. (hide spoiler)] And, at other points, more telling is sorely needed. (view spoiler)[ In the dramatic scene where Jill is beseeched by a neglected man in her mother’s care home, her mental landscape remains frustratingly opaque to the reader. (hide spoiler)] The characters' interior worlds are pretty dim. There is also the occasional cheese-ball line: “I’m not just talking about containing a pandemic,” he said in a low, even voice. “I’m talking about saving civilization!” And awkward simile: “…the smells of nature wrapping around her like smoke from a camp fire.” Nope, this doesn't work. Because a camp fire has its own wonderfully potent smell, trying to think of nature smells wrapping around me like camp fire smoke just hurts my brain. I really like Lawrence Wright. In five years’ time, I sincerely hope that he is the one writing the fast-paced narrative non-fiction account of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic in all of its weirdness. He’s clearly the man for the job. I think I'll pass on his future novels, though.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Too many plot holes and clunky writing. The "hero" was a complete idiot. Some sections are excruciatingly detailed and then other times the story seems to skip over major events. I read the first quarter and then skimmed to the end.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    There is a fascination in reading a pandemic novel during a pandemic - yes - but that doesn’t save this novel. Thin bland characters, lumbering dialogue, and everywhere there should be momentum there’s only inertia The book pauses at one point to tell us that the lead male is a considerate and patient lover.....that about sums it up - wayward unfocused writing. A real shame

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anissa

    It's probably somewhat perverse to read about a pandemic while living through one but my factory setting is one who seeks out pre/post-apocalyptic stories so, I am as I am and had to read this book. By now, no one needs the broad strokes of the havoc, death and economic dismantling a pandemic unleashes so just know that Wright hits all those notes. He also has things that I very much hope don't come to fruition on humanity's future. It's quite bleak. Still, there is a measure of hope in the end. It's probably somewhat perverse to read about a pandemic while living through one but my factory setting is one who seeks out pre/post-apocalyptic stories so, I am as I am and had to read this book. By now, no one needs the broad strokes of the havoc, death and economic dismantling a pandemic unleashes so just know that Wright hits all those notes. He also has things that I very much hope don't come to fruition on humanity's future. It's quite bleak. Still, there is a measure of hope in the end. I'd say this book was better at theme than in characterization. The characters very much reminded me of those in Kim Stanely Robinson's Science in the Capital series. No real depth but good enough to move the story along. I wasn't attached to any of them but they were serviceable. I did bristle at the bureaucrats and politicians being so preoccupied with not just capitalizing on the crisis but in some measure ignoring the severity of the pandemic to one-up on the usual geopolitical situation. It chaffed because it so depressingly rang true. Recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vicki Willis

    A pandemic read during a real pandemic. I did find it interesting how reality can mimic fiction. This book was well researched and I did learn a lot about viruses, vaccines and all things related. It was heavy on research and light on story for me however. I was most interested in the parts about the family and the people. The story seemed to weave around the informational part and at times my mind would wander. I also found the ending sudden and I was confused. I had to really think about it an A pandemic read during a real pandemic. I did find it interesting how reality can mimic fiction. This book was well researched and I did learn a lot about viruses, vaccines and all things related. It was heavy on research and light on story for me however. I was most interested in the parts about the family and the people. The story seemed to weave around the informational part and at times my mind would wander. I also found the ending sudden and I was confused. I had to really think about it and have it explained to me (maybe my problem then and not the book) what he was trying to say. After "getting it", I do like the ending. I am glad I read it, but it wasn't the most engaging read for me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    Loved this! Perfect pandemic book, chock full of historical facts and potentially devastating futures😰

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    Ironic date of publication. Reminded me of the release of China Syndrome juxtaposed with the accident at Three Mile Island.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rainer F

    Is a good journalist necessarily a good novelist? The answer is no when it comes to Lawrence Wright. He did a great job in researching as much information about viruses and pandemics as there is around, but the story that he develops is way too much and the characters are even worse. The horribly deadly Kongoli virus shows up in a detention camp for gay people in Indonesia and Henry Parsons, the leading epidemologist, takes a plan ad leaves his beautiful wife Jill and his amazing children Helen Is a good journalist necessarily a good novelist? The answer is no when it comes to Lawrence Wright. He did a great job in researching as much information about viruses and pandemics as there is around, but the story that he develops is way too much and the characters are even worse. The horribly deadly Kongoli virus shows up in a detention camp for gay people in Indonesia and Henry Parsons, the leading epidemologist, takes a plan ad leaves his beautiful wife Jill and his amazing children Helen and Teddy in Atlanta to try to save the world. However, one person has fled from the camp and took a plane to Saudi-Arabia to take part in the holy Haji where he surely infects hundreds of others who infect thousands of others. A war starts between Saudi-Arabia and Iran, another between the US and Russia. And the virus travels around the world with migration birds. Henry is the child of parents who committed suicide in Jonestown i Northwestern Guyana in 1978. There is so much more. And it is way too much. I listened to the audiobook and understand that Mark Bramhall is one of the greatest darlings of the US audio scene, but I found him horribly bad. To a book with so much unnecessary pathos and stereotypical descriptions, he added even more pathos and it is absolutely disgusting how he speaks all the non-Amercican characters dialogue mimicking foreign accents that it almost seems racist. Wright did a lot of research, but he should stick to non-fiction.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robert Intriago

    A story about a pandemic similar to the one we are going through now but as opposed to today’s headlines this one leads to a dystopian society. The author does a good job combining the effects of the disease upon the population and that of the personal life of the main character. The narrative tends to be a little slow during the narration of statistics, on the other hand, there is a lot of information as to the origins and composition of viruses. A very interesting read in light of what our pan A story about a pandemic similar to the one we are going through now but as opposed to today’s headlines this one leads to a dystopian society. The author does a good job combining the effects of the disease upon the population and that of the personal life of the main character. The narrative tends to be a little slow during the narration of statistics, on the other hand, there is a lot of information as to the origins and composition of viruses. A very interesting read in light of what our pandemic is doing to us. A 3.5.

  26. 4 out of 5

    AdiTurbo

    Quite possibly the worst book I've read this year, or maybe even in a few years. The science may be accurate and well-researched, I'll give you that, but the rest is a terrible mess. The emotion is totally flat, and no character seems to behave in any normal way a real person would. They react very strangely when dramatic things happen around them, even to their own families. I just couldn't engage with them on any emotional level. There are plotlines that are left in the middle and never picked Quite possibly the worst book I've read this year, or maybe even in a few years. The science may be accurate and well-researched, I'll give you that, but the rest is a terrible mess. The emotion is totally flat, and no character seems to behave in any normal way a real person would. They react very strangely when dramatic things happen around them, even to their own families. I just couldn't engage with them on any emotional level. There are plotlines that are left in the middle and never picked up again, and then there are plotlines that are taken so far out of proportion and plausibility that you find yourself amused instead of thrilled or in suspense. The novel keeps skipping genres, but others before me have said here, is no good at any of them. It seems like the commercial drive to get this novel out in time for the COVID-19 epidemic has come before any editorial considerations. The result is a poorly-edited novel that should have been sent back for much more work. A great shame, since I really liked Lawrence Wright as a non-fiction writer and expected him to be wonderful as a fiction writer as well.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    This is a contagion thriller, written by Lawrence Wright. What this means is that it is intelligent, well written, exciting, and presented in a way that is all too believable. Henry Parsons is a microbiologist, and epidemiologist who is sent by the World Health Organization to evaluate an outbreak of acute hemorrhagic fever in an internment camp for gay men in Indonesia. Indonesia's prejudice against LGBT people has already let the situation go on for too long, He's still in discovery mode when th This is a contagion thriller, written by Lawrence Wright. What this means is that it is intelligent, well written, exciting, and presented in a way that is all too believable. Henry Parsons is a microbiologist, and epidemiologist who is sent by the World Health Organization to evaluate an outbreak of acute hemorrhagic fever in an internment camp for gay men in Indonesia. Indonesia's prejudice against LGBT people has already let the situation go on for too long, He's still in discovery mode when the disease makes a huge jump via his driver in Jakarta, who leaves to go to Mecca on Hajj. Imagine millions of people in one small area, praying together, performing rituals, When the Hajj is over, those infected people will spread out all over the globe when they return home. Henry teams with a Saudi prince who is a also an epidemiologist. They know the only thing they can do is try to keep everyone in Mecca until the disease burns itself off. You can imagine how this goes, and what happens afterward makes for tense, terrifying reading. Making an epidemiologist the central character seems to make a narrative a little stiff. There will be a lot of medical explanation, and no matter how well it is presented, it is what it is. Henry is a pretty practical guy, not young, not handsome, with a limp, but he does a lot of heroic flying all over the place that would put anyone into a jetlag coma. You like him, but you can't really care about him. He is superhuman, despite his unassuming demeanor. What the character of Henry does do is give us access to the upper working of medical and governmental agencies while they grapple with what has been unleashed. Not pretty, and perhaps the most frightening of all. "The End of October" is a quality thriller, and all too possible. Wash your hands frequently--it's about all we can do. Thanks to Knopf and Netgalley for this review copy. .

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Garton

    Absolutely astounding, the prescience! If you love Lawrence Wright’s long form investigative writing for the New Yorker or his non-fiction books, you will find his novel equally if not even more gripping. 11 out of 5 stars, I cannot recommend it highly enough. (I should mention I won an ARC thanks to a Goodreads giveaway which I learned about because I’m “following” Wright’s author profile). I usually avoid contemporary fiction because I prefer non-fiction, but gave this book a chance because I Absolutely astounding, the prescience! If you love Lawrence Wright’s long form investigative writing for the New Yorker or his non-fiction books, you will find his novel equally if not even more gripping. 11 out of 5 stars, I cannot recommend it highly enough. (I should mention I won an ARC thanks to a Goodreads giveaway which I learned about because I’m “following” Wright’s author profile). I usually avoid contemporary fiction because I prefer non-fiction, but gave this book a chance because I enjoy Wright’s style and research so much. Well! This book reads much like Wright’s non-fiction: approachable, personal inroads into otherwise Byzantine fields as diverse as marine virology, prehistoric microbiology, American religious cults, pilgrimages to Mecca, the Saudi Royal Family, secret U.S. government agencies, Teddy Roosevelt in Brazil, life aboard a submarine, animal testing, eco fascism, the Trump presidency, polar bears in Russia, invasive kudzu plants of the American South East, oh, and coronaviruses and pandemics, including the 1918 outbreak of Spanish Flu. I HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH, and actually much of what I learned has informed my understanding of our current coronavirus pandemic and what to be demanding of our elected officials. Though the book is TERRIFYING I have found the educational aspects really comforting as I have been able to understand and make sense of what we are now learning we are facing in our current predicament. Also, this book is a novel, and reads like a thriller. Each chapter I was on the edge of my seat, and the bread crumbs of what Wright leaves for the reader to find constitute a masterclass in suspense, mystery, and intrigue. Though there are real-life people depicted and mentioned throughout, the invented characters are fully formed, full of nuance, secrets, and humanity. I loved it start to finish and have been recommending to everyone I know!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dramatika

    Utterly ridiculous book! Not to reveal too many silly plot details.. I can only say the book takrs the worst of what ignorant Americans are imagining themeselves to be and inflates it to the enormous proportions.. Saviors of the world and universe, the one and only nation left standing in the face of disaster. We all know how it all turned put IRL😂 Let’s hole the talented and respected writer comes back to the non fiction!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I want to know more about how he came up with all of the correct predictions regarding a pandemic closely related to coronavirus. It is uncanny that this fiction novel is similar to the quarantine we are now living in. The story went a bit off the rails for me in the second half. I realize that things could be so much worse than what COVID19 currently is revealing itself to be for the world. This fictional pandemic is far worse. I also wonder what we aren't being told or what we don't realize or I want to know more about how he came up with all of the correct predictions regarding a pandemic closely related to coronavirus. It is uncanny that this fiction novel is similar to the quarantine we are now living in. The story went a bit off the rails for me in the second half. I realize that things could be so much worse than what COVID19 currently is revealing itself to be for the world. This fictional pandemic is far worse. I also wonder what we aren't being told or what we don't realize or know is happening elsewhere. 5 stars for the first half, 3 stars for the second half for all around 4 star, "I really liked it"

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.