cover image The Fireman

The Fireman

oe Hill, read by Kate Mulgrew. HarperAudio, , unabridged, 18 CDs, 22.5 hrs., $65.99 ISBN 978-0-06-244378-6

Hill’s ultimate survivor tale follows Harper Grayson, a young nurse adrift in a savage, not-very-distant postapocalyptic New Hampshire. She has contracted dragonscale, a rapidly spreading disease that causes its victims to spontaneously combust. She’s on the run from her homicidal husband as well as Cremation Crews, self-assigned “patriots” trying to destroy all infected humans. And she’s pregnant. Fortunately, she crosses paths with the magical, almost legendary John Rockwood, the Fireman, who leads her to a community that has developed a method for controlling dragonscale. But Camp Wyndham is not the safe harbor it seems. Hill has packed his epic novel with thrills, suspense, action, and adventure, and actress Mulgrew (best known for her roles on Star Trek: Voyager and Orange Is the New Black) delivers a dramatic rendition that intensifies all of Harper’s emotions—her selfless care for her patients, her fear of her husband’s wrath and the perils of a dangerous world, and her fierce determination to have a safe birth for her baby. She also has the versatility to provide satisfying voices for the unusually large cast of young girls, mean teens, bickering adults, and, yes, a few sweetly kind and gentle souls. Mulgrew is particularly effective in capturing the tougher, gruffer characters, particularly the stalwart, powerful Rockwood and the snarling, hate-spewing leader of the Cremation Crews. A Morrow hardcover. (May)