Deon Meyer’s FEVER is a terrific post-apocalyptic novel reminiscent of THE STAND (the part where they rebuild in Boulder) and THE ROAD (the story focuses on the relationship between a son and a father who wants to protect his innocence). Set in South Africa, it is set shortly after a horrible pandemic has wiped out 95% of the human population, leaving isolated pockets of terrified survivors. Willem Storm travels with his teenage son Nico, and finds a town where he will rebuild civilization. In the ensuing years, the Republic of Amanzi is born, but it has enemies both inside and out. As Nico grows up to become a soldier, he will fight to protect his father as well as his father’s vision for a new world to be born on the bones of the old.
The story is extremely well researched, realistic, and compelling. The characters are similarly realistic, flawed and weak but trying as hard they can to do the right thing. Nico often finds himself torn between his father, a pacifist who believes in science and that people are essentially cooperative and good, and the charismatic Domingo, who believes people are animals and essentially competitive and bad. The resulting story is told in episodes over a period of years as Amanzi grows from just a few survivors into a city-state. It’s a little dense, meaning the pages don’t really fly by for much of it, but what it gives was very satisfying for this reader who puts a high value on believability. When an ongoing mystery is solved at the end (a murder and the very cause of the pandemic), it comes a bit out of left field, but that’s okay, it was an enjoyable ride getting there, and there’s a bit of room for a sequel, which I’d pick up if Meyer decides to do one.
Overall, I thought FEVER was a terrific read and I’m happy to recommend it to apocalyptic fiction fans.