24 Must Read Virus Pandemic Novels

The Stand by Stephen King


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The Stand
By Stephen King

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail — and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

The Hot Zone by Richard Preston


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The Hot Zone
By Richard Preston

A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic “hot” virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their “crashes” into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction.

The Fireman by Joe Hill


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The Fireman
By Joe Hill

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

year of wonders by geraldine brooks


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Year of Wonders
By Geraldine Brooks

When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a “year of wonders.”

Pandemic by Robin Cook


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Pandemic
By Robin Cook

When an unidentified, seemingly healthy young woman collapses suddenly on the New York City subway and dies upon reaching the hospital, her case is an eerie reminder for veteran medical examiner Jack Stapleton of the 1918 flu pandemic. Fearful of a repeat on the one hundredth anniversary of the nightmarish contagion, Jack autopsies the woman within hours of her demise and discovers some striking anomalies: first, that she has had a heart transplant, and second, that, against all odds, her DNA matches that of the transplanted heart.

Although the facts don’t add up to influenza, Jack must race against the clock to identify the woman and determine what kind of virus could wreak such havoc–a task made more urgent when two other victims succumb to a similar rapid death. But nothing makes sense until his investigation leads him into the fascinating realm of CRISPR/CAS9, a gene-editing biotechnology that’s captured the imagination of the medical community. . . and the attention of its most unethical members. Drawn into the dark underbelly of the organ transplant market, Jack will come face-to-face with a megalomaniacal businessman willing to risk human lives in order to conquer a lucrative new frontier in medicine–and if Jack’s not careful, the next life lost might be his own.

Year One by Nora Roberts


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Year One
By Nora Roberts

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magick rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.

Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear


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Darwin’s Radio
By Greg Bear

“Virus hunter” Christopher Dicken is a man on a mission, following a trail of rumors, government cover-ups, and dead bodies around the globe in search of a mysterious disease that strikes only pregnant women and invariably results in miscarriage. But when Dicken finds what he’s looking for, the answer proves to be stranger—and far deadlier—than he ever could have imagined. Something that has slept in human DNA for millions of years is waking up.

Molecular biologist Kaye Lang has spent her career tracing ancient retroviruses in the human genome. She believes these microscopic fossils can come to life again. But when Dicken’s discovery becomes public, Lang’s theory suddenly turns to chilling fact. As the outbreak of this terrifying disease threatens to become a deadly epidemic, Dicken and Lang must race against time to assemble the pieces of a puzzle only they are equipped to solve—an evolutionary puzzle that will determine the future of the human race . . . if a future exists at all.

Adromeda Strain by Michael Crichton


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The Andromeda Strain
By Michael Crichton

Five prominent biophysicists have warned the United States government that sterilization procedures for returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere. Two years later, a probe satellite falls to the earth and lands in a desolate region of northeastern Arizona. Nearby, in the town of Piedmont, bodies lie heaped and flung across the ground, faces locked in frozen surprise. What could cause such shock and fear? The terror has begun, and there is no telling where it will end.

ghost map by steven johnson


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The Ghost Map
By Steven Johnson

It’s the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure-garbage removal, clean water, sewers-necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action-and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time.

In a triumph of multidisciplinary thinking, Johnson illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of disease, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry, offering both a riveting history and a powerful explanation of how it has shaped the world we live in.

 

flu by gina kolata


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Flu
By Gina Kolata

The fascinating, true story of the world’s deadliest disease.

In 1918, the Great Flu Epidemic felled the young and healthy virtually overnight. An estimated forty million people died as the epidemic raged. Children were left orphaned and families were devastated. As many American soldiers were killed by the 1918 flu as were killed in battle during World War I. And no area of the globe was safe. Eskimos living in remote outposts in the frozen tundra were sickened and killed by the flu in such numbers that entire villages were wiped out.

Scientists have recently rediscovered shards of the flu virus frozen in Alaska and preserved in scraps of tissue in a government warehouse. Gina Kolata, an acclaimed reporter for The New York Times, unravels the mystery of this lethal virus with the high drama of a great adventure story. Delving into the history of the flu and previous epidemics, detailing the science and the latest understanding of this mortal disease, Kolata addresses the prospects for a great epidemic recurring, and, most important, what can be done to prevent it.

germ by robert liparulo


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Germ
By Robert Liparulo

If you breathe . . . It will find you.

The list of 10,000 names was created for maximum devastation. Business leaders, housewives, politicians, celebrities, janitors, children. None of them is aware of what is about to happen–but all will be part of the most frightening brand of warfare the world has ever known.

The germ–an advanced form of the Ebola virus–has been genetically engineered to infect only those people whose DNA matches the codes embedded within it. Those whose DNA is not a match simply catch a cold. But those who are a match experience a far worse fate. Within days, their internal organs liquify.

Death is the only escape.

Feed by Mira Grant


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Feed
By Mira Grant

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

Now, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.

the plague by albert camus


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The Plague
By Albert Camus

A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror, Camus’ novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century literature.

no safety in numbers by dayna lorentz


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No Safety in Numbers
By Dayna Lorentz

A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it’s even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there’s no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens.

These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising manners, changing in ways they wouldn’t have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly. This is a gripping look at people and how they can—and must—change under the most dire of circumstances.

And not always for the better.

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy


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The Dead Lands
By Benjamin Percy

In Benjamin Percy’s new thriller, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders.

Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon.

Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation, and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.

Spillover by David Quammen


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Spillover
By David Quammen

The next big human pandemic—the next disease cataclysm, perhaps on the scale of AIDS or the 1918 influenza—is likely to be caused by a new virus coming to humans from wildlife. Experts call such an event “spillover” and they warn us to brace ourselves. David Quammen has tracked this subject from the jungles of Central Africa, the rooftops of Bangladesh, and the caves of southern China to the laboratories where researchers work in space suits to study lethal viruses. He illuminates the dynamics of Ebola, SARS, bird flu, Lyme disease, and other emerging threats and tells the story of AIDS and its origins as it has never before been told. Spillover reads like a mystery tale, full of mayhem and clues and questions. When the Next Big One arrives, what will it look like? From which innocent host animal will it emerge? Will we be ready?

station eleven by emily st. john mandel


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Station Eleven
By Emily St. John Mandel

Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.

Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.

pandemic by ag riddle


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Pandemic
By A.G. Riddle

The CDC and WHO race to stop it, but they soon learn that this pandemic hides a dark secret. It may be the start of a scientific experiment that could alter the human race forever—and reveal a shocking truth about our future.

Experience the groundbreaking novel that will change everything you think you know about pandemics—and how to survive one.

the remaining by dj molles


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The Remaining
By D.J.  Molles

In a steel-and-lead encased bunker a Special Forces soldier waits on his final orders.

On the surface a bacterium has turned 90% of the population into hyper-aggressive predators.

Now Captain Lee Harden must leave the bunker and venture into the wasteland to rekindle a shattered America.

incubation by adrienne lecter


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Incubation
By Adrienne Lecter

All Dr. Brianna Lewis wants is a cup of coffee.
Coffee, to make slaving away in her cell culture lab at Green Fields Biotech a little more bearable on a Friday afternoon when everyone is home already.
What she doesn’t count on is a group of terrorists blowing up all the entrances to the building and taking her and a select few others hostage. Bree soon finds herself conflicted. Not only does she know their charismatic leader. She also starts to suspect that there is a lot more to this than the hunt for an illegal bioweapon—a virus that could potentially kill millions in just a few days—particularly as there is currently a flu epidemic raging across the country, and reports about violent behavior among the afflicted are getting more and more alarming.

code orange by caroline b cooney


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Code Orange
By Caroline B. Cooney

Walking around New York City was what Mitty Blake did best. He loved the city, and even after 9/11, he always felt safe. Mitty was a carefree guy–he didn’t worry about terrorists or blackouts or grades or anything, which is why he was late getting started on his Advanced Bio report.
Mitty does feel a little pressure to hand something in–if he doesn’t, he’ll be switched out of Advanced Bio, which would be unfortunate since Olivia’s in Advanced Bio. So he considers it good luck when he finds some old medical books in his family’s weekend house that focus on something he could write about. But when he discovers an old envelope with two scabs in one of the books, the report is no longer about the grade–it’s about life and death. His own.
This edge-of-your-seat thriller will leave you breathless.

the next pandemic by ali s khan


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The Next Pandemic
By Ali S. Khan

An inside account of the fight to contain the world’s deadliest diseases–and the panic and corruption that make them worse

Throughout history, humankind’s biggest killers have been infectious diseases: the Black Death, the Spanish Flu, and AIDS alone account for over one hundred million deaths. We ignore this reality most of the time, but when a new threat–Ebola, SARS, Zika–seems imminent, we send our best and bravest doctors to contain it. People like Dr. Ali S. Khan.

In his long career as a public health first responder–protected by a thin mask from infected patients, napping under nets to keep out scorpions, making life-and-death decisions on limited, suspect information–Khan has found that rogue microbes will always be a problem, but outbreaks are often caused by people. We make mistakes, politicize emergencies, and, too often, fail to imagine the consequences of our actions.

The Dog Stars by peter heller


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The Dog Stars
By Peter Heller

Hig somehow survived the flu pandemic that killed everyone he knows. Now his wife is gone, his friends are dead, and he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, Jasper, and a mercurial, gun-toting misanthrope named Bangley.

But when a random transmission beams through the radio of his 1956 Cessna, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists outside their tightly controlled perimeter. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return and follows its static-broken trail, only to find something that is both better and worse than anything he could ever hope for.

Dooms Day Book by Connie Willis


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Dooms Day Book
By Connie Willis

For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity’s history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received.

But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her. In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin—barely of age herself—finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history’s darkest hours.

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