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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

In this riveting 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, 47 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. 

As international tensions rise and governments enforce unprecedented measures, Henry finds himself in a race against time to track the source and find a cure - before it’s too late....

©2020 Lawrence Wright (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"An eerily prescient novel about a devastating virus that begins in Asia before going global.... A page-turner that has the earmarks of an instant best seller." (New York Post

"Eerily prescient. Too bad our leaders lack his foresight." (The New York Times

"A compelling read up to the last sentence. Wright has come up with a story worthy of Michael Crichton. In an eerily calm, matter-of-fact way, and backed by meticulous research, he imagines what the world would actually be like in the grip of a devastating new virus." (Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone

What listeners say about The End of October

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A Frightening Reality

Written before the 2020 pandemic, it virtually mirrors what is happening to the world at the moment (October 2020). It devolves into a much deeper crisis, however, but shows clearly what can happen when the social structure collapses. With some very interesting historical facts about pandemics, it is the complete book - although, I must say, the personal side was a bit dreary. I enjoyed it that much that I'll give it a week or two and then listen to it again. The narration was also first-rate.

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Crystal ball

Written before the real life covid19 pandemic, with many uncanny parallels. Includes interesting epidemiological background in layman's terms such as a history of influenza and previous pandemics. I binge-listened in anticipation of how the problem would be resolved.

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Should be depressing but it had the opposite effect

You would think that reading about a virus that kills so many people would be a depressing read given the current Covid situation but really, this made me feel like we’re getting off lightly at the moment!

I liked listening to this guy’s voice

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Perfectly timed with chilling research.

This novel is absolutely brilliant, if chilling given the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Wright’s meticulous research and explanations of the science behind nature’s most lethal killers is matched with superb characters and story telling.
Highly recommended. Also, great performance by the narrator.

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well researched and too believable in parts

I'm not sure what is have thought listening to this a year ago but in the current climate it's so believable and makes me think that things could be worse! good medical info and political. main characters interesting but felt a little incomplete.

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  • Greg
  • 16-05-2020

A Prescient Novel for Our Times

The End of October is a gripping read with a sympathetic protagonist. The author has certainly done his homework and it was chilling to see how ficticional events so accurately mirrored the real-life events presently unfolding during the Coronavirus pandemic. The author weaves some fascinating insights into the story about previous pandemics, diseases and plagues, and the scientists that worked to contain them. I did feel, however, that there were gaps in the narrative, so much so that I thought that I had missed some chapters. I wondered if this was due to some overzealous editing. I would be very surprised if the movie rights hadn’t already been snapped up and the book lends itself nicely to a sequel.

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  • Stephen Marsh
  • 13-05-2020

One third interesting, two thirds misery slog

The first third of the book, as the scientists grapple with the virus was interesting and even compelling, given our situation. The performance by the reader was very good. Then, for me at least, it turned into a slog of never ending misery, as the central characters are caught up in the pandemic. While reading the chapters on the children I found myself absolutely reviling Henry. That made it very difficult to keep going,as I felt we were meant to sympathize with him and his plight.

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  • papapownall
  • 03-05-2020

Fanciful pandemic thriller from American patriot

Apparently this new thriller from Lawrence Wright (author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11) was conceived prior to the current COVID 19 pandemic that has resulted in the world being in "lockdown" for weeks wondering what the future might hold. This is the fanciful story of an American doctor who finds himself at the centre of a battle against a virus that is taking over the world. The action takes us from Indonesia, to the Haj in Mecca and to a nuclear submarine. Whilst the science quoted in the book appear to be well researched and interesting, the geopolitics of this story are very much those of an American patriot. No spoilers but it is pretty obvious who the bad guys are going to be.

The marketing blurb for this book describes it as a "full tilt, electrifying, one of a kind thriller". It seems that timing of this book could not have been better for the author, however, after 2020, I expect many others will write fiction based on a pandemic and a lot of them will be better that this

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  • Karole
  • 05-05-2020

Talk About Prescient

Well right in the middle of lockdown from Covid19 comes this gem. About an unbidden plague. The science is interesting. The politics is only too believable. The final sentence says it all. It’s long and it’s dense. It’s funny and suspenseful. I listened solidly and got through it in 2 sessions. I loved it. You will too.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Eliza
  • 09-10-2020

Ridiculous

The usual pandemic story, exceptionally poorly executed and badly written. How do these things get published? The writing was something child might have written in her junior school years. Don't waste your money.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 19-07-2020

Meh... [2.5 stars]

Not really a documentary (well kind of, this all might happen or are partly happening) and even less of a novel (no prose, thin characters, no depth, no drama). The narration does not help it either: Uninteresting, frustrating accent mimicking and sudden spikes that don't fit.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-05-2020

Exceptional

In the era of World pandemic an apt and gripping tale with a great twist.

1 person found this helpful

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  • A
  • 17-01-2021

Has its flaws but its worth the ending

Really hard read in the current climate but definitely worth the effort, especially for the final sentence.

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  • Mr. Mark Hanson
  • 07-09-2020

a very bleak story.

It's very well put together and 85% plausible. The final twist was predictable as it is an actual concern of health experts but is never mentioned all through the book

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  • J
  • 25-07-2020

Great plot idea poorly executed

The plot premise is great, especially during these times. It’s almost like reading a history book from the future. However, Wright focuses far too much on the minute and boring lives of his characters to the point that it felt like more of the book was spent on details such as how the protagonist met his wife than the actual main plot - the pandemic. I gave up before I got half way through.

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  • LolaB
  • 21-07-2020

A worrying yet prescient tale

loved the book, well researched and the science is spot on. Random flights of fancy but still enjoyable start to finish

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  • Kim Sawyer
  • 08-07-2020

Amazing Book

The story is so relevant to today. I was hooked from the very start. Good main character.

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