cover image The End of October

The End of October

Lawrence Wright. Knopf, $27.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-525-65865-8

On a trip to the site of an “unusual cluster of adolescent fatalities in a refugee camp” in Indonesia, World Health Organization doctor Henry Parsons, the hero of this multifaceted thriller from Pulitzer Prize winner Wright (God Save Texas), discovers the compound decimated by an unknown disease. Parsons sounds the alarm that the virus responsible may have spread after learning that his driver, who went inside the camp, was allowed to leave the area. The stakes rise when Parsons finds out that the driver was headed for Saudi Arabia to participate in a pilgrimage to Mecca, thus potentially exposing millions to the fatal infection. Meanwhile, the Saudis and Iranians are at each other’s throats, and a career NSC official fears that Putin’s Russia is preparing a cyberattack that would cripple the U.S. Wright pulls few punches and imbues even walk-on characters with enough humanity that their fate will matter to readers. This timely literary page-turner shows Wright is on a par with the best writers in the genre. Author tour. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (May)