"Fever" by Deon Meyer, is a riveting, epic story of survival after a global pandemic fever has wiped out a good percentage of the world's population. Set in South Africa, it is primarily the story of Nico Storm and his father, Willem. Written in the form of a memoir looking back on this time, and as Nico says in the opening paragraph, it is also the story of his father's murder.
Nico's narration takes you back to their first days after this devastation. Having survived the outbreak Nico, then aged 13, and Willem travel across the land in a tractor trailer in which they haul the remainders of their lives, food, books, medicine. As they travel, Willem teaches Nico about everything from the cloud formations to history lessons, to, probably his most useful lesson of all, how to shoot.
As they pause to refuel at an abandoned fueling station, Nico's eye catches movement. Before they can react a pack of wild dogs is upon them, cutting Willem off from the truck where he has sent Nico to safety, and fighting them off with a wrench, instructs his son to get the pistol and shoot them which he does, helping to hold them off until his wounded father reaches the truck, and takes the gun wiping out the rest of the pack.
Taken ill by the dog bites he's suffered, Nico and Willem seek refuge in an empty house, where Willem rides out the fever brought on by the carrion eating animals. Holed up in the house, terrified for his sick father, Nico hears the unsettling sound of human voices. Peering through the window he sees two men investigating their truck, and then peering through the windows eventually deciding to shoot off the door locks before turning away and driving off in a jeep in which they also have a woman, their apparent hostage.
What happens next will change Nico forever, it will make him look at his father in a different light. We will, also, soon meet characters whose stories begin to intersperse with that of Nico's, including Domingo, someone who will become a major influence on Nico's life, and his father's, as they set about trying to create a new world.
This is a book I was so immersed in I had to stay up late for many nights to follow the story. It is so memorable you will find yourself thinking about it long after you've finished it. And Domingo! What a fantastic, brave and colorful character. I could read a whole book just based on him. If you love a good story and one that will keep you up and wondering what will happen then look no further than Mr. Meyer's brilliant novel!