The End of October by Lawrence Wright (A Book Review)

The End of October is a novel that incorporates the following elements = Horror Story + Political Novel + Family’s fight for survival + Cautionary Tale.

This novel was written and published before the Covid 19 pandemic and what’s most surprising is how the author has eerily forecasted many of the events and issues that we are experiencing now. (He even predicted the U.S. Vice President being in charge of the pandemic task force and failing.)

I have read two other non-fiction books by Wright: Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David and The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Those books, like this novel, are excellent.

The background of this book includes the following: Global pandemic (Kongoli) that kills hundreds of millions of people…no cures, no vaccines…famine worldwide…Middle East war between Saudi Arabia And Iran…terrorist attacks by religious fanatics…cyber warfare between the United States and Russia that destroys each nation’s infrastructure and economies…economic depression, fallen governments worldwide…

It’s not a pleasant read or a feel good story. One can easily imagine the parade of horribles that could happen under those events. Panic. Hospitals overwhelmed. Government ineffective. (Philadelphia becomes the first U.S. hotspot in this novel).

Within all this chaos is epidemiologist Henry Parsons desperately trying to develop a vaccine, stay alive (he has more adventures and near death experiences than Indiana Jones)  and find a way to get back to the United States and save his wife and two children.

For me, the book had a slow start but quickly became a page turner after the fourth or fifth chapter. There is also an unexpected surprise finding at the end of the book.

One of the two or three best novels I have read in 2020…

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