Feverby Deon Meyer
An epic drama from an acclaimed internationally bestselling author—a powerful story of love, betrayal, and survival in a world devastated by a fatal virus known simply as “the Fever.”
Nico Storm and his father, Willem, drive a truck filled with essential supplies through a desolate land. They are among the few in the world, as far as they know, to have survived a devastating virus that has swept over the planet. Their lives turned upside down, Nico realizes that his superb marksmanship and cool head mean he is destined to be his father’s protector, even though he is still only a boy.
Willem Storm, though not a fighter, is both a thinker and a leader, a wise and compassionate man with a vision for a new community that survivors will rebuild from the ruins. And so Amanzi is founded, drawing Storm’s “homeless and tempest-tost”—starting with Melinda Swanevelder, whom they rescue from brutal thugs; Hennie Fly, with his vital Cessna plane; Beryl Fortuin and her ragtag group of orphans; and Domingo, the man with the tattooed hand, whom Nico immediately recognizes as someone you want on your side. And then Sofia Bergman arrives, the most beautiful girl Nico has ever seen, who changes everything.
So the community grows, and with each step forward, as resources increase, so do the challenges they must face—not just from the attacks of biker brigands, but also from within. Nico undergoes an extraordinary rite of passage in this brand new world, testing his loyalty to the limits. Looking back later in life, he recounts the traumatic events that led to the greatest rupture of all—the murder of the person he loves most.
Propulsively readable, Fever is a gripping epic of humanity striving for a noble vision against its basest impulses.
“Reminiscent of The Stand and The Passage. Great stuff.” —Stephen King
“I have been a Deon Meyer fan for some time. Fever is an interesting departure for him . . . and I loved it.” —Thomas Perry
“Fever is one of the best books of the year. Deon Meyer is a masterful writer and has created a stunning epic that brims with emotion. The mystery, thrills, and action kept me riveted to every page. Highly recommended.” —Adam Hamdy, author of Pendulum
“Fever bears comparison with landmarks in the genre such as The Stand . . . The novel explores humanity at its best and worst; the crushing loss of civilisation with everything that means for the structure of society . . . This great book asks us to reflect on our own hidden natures—how would we react if the world we knew came to an end tomorrow?” —Vaseem Khan, author of The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra
“Meyer neatly integrates a whodunit into a sophisticated postapocalyptic thriller set in South Africa . . . Meyer effectively teases his ultimate reveal. Thoughtful character development complements the clever storytelling.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A thought-provoking, postapocalyptic examination of the human condition . . . With its stunning final revelation, this is a remarkable literary achievement.” —Michele Leber, Booklist
“[A] sweeping epic about a young Afrikaner boy’s survival in a post-apocalyptic South Africa . . . The book is part ecological warning, part thriller . . . part adventure saga . . and part coming-of-age story . . . Gripping moments and a haunting atmosphere.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Emotional and atmospheric . . . There are shades of Cormac McCarthy’s superb The Road, but Fever grips even more.” —Times (UK)
“Deon Meyer should be applauded for this brutal, unflinching tale of the excesses of humanity coiled like a python around a coming-of-age tale; one that makes one think deeply about the human condition as it entertains as well as warns of the dangers ahead . . . Miss this insightful thriller at your peril, because as crime thrillers go, this is the big summer read of 2017.” —Shotsmag (UK)
“Compelling, action-packed and fraught with emotion. At its heart it is a powerful exploration of humanity at its best and worst and bears favourable comparison with landmarks of the genre such as Stephen King’s The Stand and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Simply stunning.” —Daily Express (UK)
“Moving and gripping.” —South China Morning Post
“The novel Fever grabbed me from the beginning . . . It starts as a thrilling survival tale between a brilliant father and his 13-year-old son and quickly evolves into a fascinating study of human nature and the perils of building of a new civilization from scratch. The survivalist details throughout the novel are especially fascinating, as are the conflicts between the society as it grows. A dense, captivating read that drew me in and kept me hooked.” —Elissa Englund, Bank Square Books and Savoy Bookshop & Café, Mystic, Connecticut
“I finished Fever and absolutely loved it.” —Randy Schiller, Left Bank Books, St. Louis
“In Fever, [Meyer] ups his thriller game without losing his distinctive voice to portray characters navigating a harsh future where his country has been devastated by a virus, turning it upside down. Who will survive? Those who can fight? Those who can think, plan? Or an alliance of both sorts of the still living?” —Barbara Peters, Owner, The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, Arizona
“Deon Meyer has crafted a beautifully nuanced story of a father and son that just happens to take place in the wake of a global pandemic. Meyer manages to capture the scope of The Stand and the heart of Station Eleven, all while giving us an amazingly realistic depiction of the rebirth of human society. Told in flashback by the grown son, Fever is both thrilling and moving.” —Merril Speck, [words] Bookstore, Maplewood, New Jersey
“In this gripping novel Meyer invents and explores a world nearly destroyed by a virulent virus and focuses on what it takes to rebuild communities. Set in South Africa, Fever is ultimately about hope, failure, idealism, the will to thrive and also a young man’s coming of age. The rich and varied characters come zinging off the page as they invent their new lives, reveal some of their past and take up defending themselves against threats expected and not. Driven by suspense but layered with compassion Meyer’s newest novel will own you from start to end. It is terrific!” —Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, California
“If the planet suffered a catastrophic event would humans discover their better side during the struggle to survive or would all the old superstitions, biases and prejudices still come to the fore? Deon Meyer probes that question and more in his apocalyptic novel as a group of people in South Africa attempt to build a new society only to discover the old factionalism once again rears its head. The fast-paced story is filled with intrigue and mystery while also serving as a serious study of what can be done by humanity on the edge of extinction. And readers will also be pleased by the fact that there is definitely an opening for a sequel.” —Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi
“I’d not read Deon Meyer before Fever, and now I want to get my hands on any of his thrillers. Poignant and suspenseful, Fever is set in a post-apocalyptic South Africa. Even as Nico’s father strives to build a new society, we know his murder is coming. But when, how, and especially by whom is the twist you won’t see coming. Nico’s detective work to find his father’s killer, and the survivors’ oral histories that intersperse the book, make this disaster all too real.” —Rosemary Pugliese, Spellbound Bookshop, Asheville, North Carolina
“I was about 12 when I first read Stephen King’s The Stand, and it’s still one of my all-time favorite books. In the intervening decades, I’ve read a lot of books that cover similar territory and Fever is not only one of the very best, it’s the one that reminds me most of The Stand, while being completely different. It intrigues me that the publisher describes it as ‘dystopian,’ because I’d argue it’s utopian—which is far rarer and more interesting. Set evocatively in exotic South Africa, it opens after 95% of the world’s population has died off. The time of disease is over. Willem Storm and his 13-year-old son, Nico are at the heart of the tale, and polymath Willem dreams of rebuilding. If you were starting civilization over from scratch, where would you begin? What would you be up against? Like The Stand, this is a long, plot-driven novel. I could not turn the pages fast enough! But neither of these books would work if they weren’t populated with characters that leap off the page. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!” —Susan Tunis, Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, California
Praise for Deon Meyer:
“Meyer’s novels present an unvarnished picture of the social divisions in post-apartheid South Africa.” —Lorien Kite, Financial Times, on Icarus (Best Books of 2015)
“Meyer gives rare insights into the texture of everyday life in a country still troubled 20 years after the release of Nelson Mandela.” —Times (UK), on the “50 Best Thrillers of the Past 5 Years,” for Thirteen Hours
An Indie Next Selection
Suddenly the hum of insects ceased.
Something drew my attention, behind my father, down the street. I called to him, in surprise at the unexpected sign of life, and a bit frightened by the furtive nature of the movement. My father looked up at me, following the direction of my gaze, and saw the spectres in the deepening dusk.
“Get inside,” he shouted. He stood up, holding the heavy wrench, and ran towards the cab.
I was frozen. The shame of it would eat at me for months, that inexplicable stupidity. I stood motionless, my eyes fixed on the shifting shadows as they coalesced into solid shapes.
Dogs. Supple, quick.
“Nico,” my father shouted, with a terrible urgency. He stopped in his tracks, to try to fend the determined dogs away from his child.
After that, everything happened so fast, yet it was also as if time stood still. I remember the finest detail. The despair on my father’s face when the dogs cut him off from the truck, just three metres away. The whirring sound as he swung and swung the massive adjustable wrench. The electrically charged air, the smell of ozone, the stink of the dogs. They dodged backwards to evade the momentum of the deadly spanner, always too agile, just out of reach. But they stayed between him and the truck door, snarling, snapping.
“Get the pistol, Nico. Shoot.” Not an order. A terrified plea, as if in that moment my father saw his death and its consequences: his son, lone survivor, stranded, doomed.