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Publisher's Summary

Glasgow, 2025. Dr Amanda Maclean is called to treat a young man with a mild fever. Within three hours, he dies. The mysterious illness sweeps through the hospital with deadly speed. This is how it begins.

The victims are all men. 

Dr Maclean raises the alarm, but the sickness spreads to every corner of the globe. Threatening families. Governments. Countries.

Can they find a cure before it’s too late? Will this be the story of the end of the world - or its salvation?

Compelling, confronting and devastating, The End of Men is the novel that everyone is talking about.

©2021 Christina Sweeney-Baird (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Fiercely intelligent page-turner...at once thoughtful and highly emotive." (Paula Hawkins)

"The stuff that classics are made of." (AJ Finn)

"Brilliant, prescient, unputdownable." (Jenny Colgan)

What listeners say about The End of Men

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Great narration, otherwise disappointing.

I was looking forward to reading this book with all the rave reviews but unfortunately I was disappointed.
The concept is interesting, it’s written much like World War Z where you are predominantly listening to accounts of the characters experiences rather than being led through a story in real time. The narration was excellent and I would listen to any of the narrators again. The author could have done more research into the medical aspects, so much is really, really incorrect.. even a simple google search would have produced information required (a fever of 38.8 mild?? in reality in most health systems it would initiate a sepsis pathway). For me the most irritating part of the book was the character Catherine; a self involved, sulky, selfish, horrible human.. listening to her whining the majority of the way throughout the book was PAINFUL! I stuck with it because I hoped she would grow somehow throughout the book, but alas, she remains a selfish brat throughout the entire book, she is WOEFUL and unfortunately, ruined it for me.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Could have been good, but was very disappointing.

This is a post-apocalyptic style story in which a virus springs up, and strikes down only the evil, sorry, the Male part of the population. This could have been a really great story, it is written with multiple characters, in a testimonial style point of view (similar to that of World War Z), and mostly from the point of view of Female characters as nearly all the men in the world are dead.
However, there are multiple problems with the characters, as well as with how the story is told. Throughout the entire story, there is this underlying feeling that men are bad, with constant referrals to how men start all wars, it’s the man that ignored the woman’s advice that could have avoided all of this at the start, there is the immune male who just happens to be abusive (in a community of abusive males, before the rest die), and so on and so on. One of the only men in the book is some idiot going on about conspiracy theories and how Women did this, but were too stupid to do it themselves, and how they have been slowly setting it up so they don’t need men anymore – Seriously??.
The Author doesn’t cover that it was a woman who gave the recommendation to ignore the original Dr as she was unsound that led to the male ignoring the advice, that the DV victim doesn’t go for help, but uses the plague as a convenient excuse to murder her partner – and there is the underlying impression that this has been occurring a fair bit as the authorities have not asked any questions, just collected the bodies. As for wars throughout history – maybe the Author should try checking out a few of the more charming examples of the Queens we have had in human history??
Putting aside the Authors sexist taint and obvious dislike for men, unfortunately, the story just did not seem to be going anywhere. I have reached the halfway point in the book, and without spoilers for anyone that wants to continue further, the story doesn’t seem to have any point? Worse than this is the very regrettable character work.
Some characters are just annoyingly whiny or obnoxious (or both) like the Canadian Dr is just obnoxious, and I won’t get into her views on how she feels that people shouldn’t share research that could potentially save others lives (Thankfully no one like her existed with the COVID research – and there just had to be another dig about how the world has ignored all women and their discoveries). Then there is the Dr who discovered patient Zero who goes from being vilified to hero-worshipped, and all the while doesn’t seem to know if she is a Dr, a Psychologist, a Forensic Pathologist or what?
She flits around the place in the middle of plague, talking to all sorts of people whilst still working at the A&E of a Hospital, nice quarantine control? She complains about not being heard, whilst dumping 10s of emails to the newspapers?? Wow, don’t hold back now!! 10s, don’t make it a hundred, you might reach someone.
This book is unfortunately full of second rate characters that you really just can’t like. Every time you start to like one of them, they do something really stupid or annoying, and not in a way that you think is human nature, but is just bad character writing.
This could have been something really amazing, but it was incredibly disappointing, especially given that we are in the middle of a pandemic. The Author really should have spent more time researching her subject matter and her characters. I’m guessing she might get some positive responses from Female readers who will be happy to see a world in which all men die, but for the discerning reader, this was just a very unsatisfactory read.
For the most part, a lot of the Narration is really good. There are multiple Narrators, mostly Women given that most of the roles are Female, and they are done pretty well, with good clear and concise easy to understand Narration.
Some of the characters do quite well with the emotional aspects of their roles, I thought Elizabeth was done particularly well, providing a good amount of both sadness and joy in her role, as she brought her to life.
The character of Amanda was Narrated well also.
The Male voices were quite well done also, maybe not as emotive as the Female characters, but still clear and concise.
Overall, the Narration was done well.

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long and drawn out

the story is interesting, but it moves at a glacial pace, and the characters spend most of the book whining at how they have it rough. it could do with less pathos and more action.
on the sci-fi side, there's a little speculation and world building, it's good but it could use a lot more of it.

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  • Floaty
  • 06-03-21

Interesting Concept. Transparent, ridiculous story

I was fascinated by the idea of this book, a plague that only infects and kills men, and the social, political and personal upheaval that would result. I was disappointed.

The actual writing and narration are pretty good. All first-person accounts, but there’s nothing wrong with that. But then the real agenda starts creeping in.

It’s pretty clear that the author wanted to make a point about about how terrible men are at everything, and how much better the world would be if women were in charge. It’s almost as if the author has started with this premise and tried to build a story to lead to that conclusion. Pretty transparent, pretty disappointing.

Get the men out of the way and see how great the world becomes when it’s women who are in all the positions of power. Yawn...
Only you just cannot imagine things happening the way they do. The author has taken great unrealistic and illogical leaps to try reach their feminist utopia, in some cases embarrassingly so.

One key premise expressed by one of the characters that served as the foundation for future events was so obviously and fundamentally incorrect I genuinely thought I had missheard it. “10% of the men can only produce 10% of the children...”

Sorry, what?! I’m no doctor, but it’s obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense that this isn’t true. A single man could literally impregnate hundreds of thousands of women, if the medical and moral structures would accommodate it, (which they surely would if there was a population crisis on this scale).

But this obviously flawed premise gave rise to women being carefully and rigorously selected for reproduction. It’s pretty clear that the author simply chose to ignore this inconvenient biological reality as it didn’t fit with the female power narrative that was being constructed. And this wasn’t the only example.

What happens when 90% of the men are gone, do those remaining become highly sought after by women? Women forced to compete against each other, as they already do in the real world? No, of course not, we can’t have that, it wouldn’t fit the agenda. Instead, the women simply all decide to become lesbians. Hilarious!

I can say that the narration was pretty good overall, with many of the voice actors bringing their roles to life. But someone please let them know that Penrith is in Cumbria, not Yorkshire, and precisely nobody in Cumbria speaks with a “ey up lad” Yorkshire accent.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • VJ
  • 04-29-21

Thought Provoking

A very thought provoking novel. Intelligently portrays the way the world could be affected by a gender specific pandemic.
Fantastic narration - especially by one of my favourites - Cathleen McCarron.
I will look forward to further audio books from this author.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Claire Zenkerova
  • 07-31-21

Very interesting in the context of 2020/21

This is fascinatingly topical and well written. Each character has their own quirks, sense of humour, way of speaking which retains interest. Although I agree with reviewers that there are a few too many tableaux. I had read that the narration of Dawn was poor and sadly it was worse than I expected. the character is written as fiercely clever and in a key position at the top of British Intelligence. She is also witty and has the best oneliners but the stilted performance put her across on the contrary as slightly dim. it would be worth rerecording Dawn's sections as it spoils one of the best characters

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ruby
  • 07-30-21

Great idea

This book is very well written and thought provoking, very original.
The narrator has a nice, easy voice and I enjoyed listening. I would definitely look for future books from this author

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shelly Turner
  • 04-30-21

Impossible to stop listening

This book gripped me so much so that I finished it in one sitting!
Excellent book, fantastic characters and narration. By far the best book I’ve read / listened to so far this year, likely to be my favourite of 2021

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rachael Boxall
  • 10-29-21

Worth a read

Yea it’s alright. Feels a bit like it’s capitalising a bit soon on the pandemic. There are some bits in the plot that clearly mirror the real life experiences people have been describing over media outlets. If you can overlook that it’s a reasonable enough plot.

Performance wise everyone was good APART from the fact that Amanda the main Dr has about 12 different Scottish accents. This is not to mean she is unable to do a Scottish accent but that her voice tone and accent change in different chapters so much that it is confusing as you think it’s a different character. I think that is what a lot of people are referring to when saying the different voices are confusing.

It’s okay. Probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless they had a specific interest in the genre as it’s not going to make my favourites list.

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  • Miss
  • 09-28-21

Stunning book

I could not put this down. What a concept; a virus that kills 90% of the male population. lives are shattered and women have to ensure all vital services remain available despite a lack of trainers. Truly thought provoking.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lionbird
  • 08-06-21

Best book written after pandemic

I wouldn’t have read this book if I had read into the actually story. Instead I heard about it from a book club and thought it would be interesting seeing the world from an all women’s perspective. I was not prepared therefore for what came in the first chapters of the book. This book took me on a journey, a journey not unlike my own during the last 18 months or so. I cried, laughed and ached along with the characters. Great writing, great characters but a little too close for home. However I was engrossed and couldn’t put it down. Outstanding!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • BOB
  • 07-20-21

Interesting read in current climate

Enjoyed reading a fictional version of life on recent times. There was a lot of similarity, but also a different outcomes. Quite scary to read what might have been.

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  • Audiobooks Nest Reviews
  • 06-23-21

Beautiful, thoughtful, thought provoking.

Beautiful, thoughtful, thought provoking.

Loved:
💜The intricacy of this novel is staggering, imagining the impact of men’s disappearance from society down to the last electrician.
🎧Excellent production. Having a book read by eleven separate voices felt decadent in the best possible way and made it much easier to differentiate between the many characters.
💛Small moments made a big impact. A memorable one for me involved a female character scaring off an aggressive male, a scenario that turned the usual post-apocalyptic dynamic on its head.
💚In what I can only describe as sorcery, I came away from a book about a devastating plague feeling uplifted.

Could have Loved More:

I wouldn’t change a thing,

Shall I compare thee to:

A World War Z style telling of a Children of Men style disaster with the conscience of A Handmaid’s Tale. I went too far, didn't I…

<b>Other thoughts: </b>

In an extra tidbit, the accuracy of this book in describing life under a pandemic is all the more impressive given that Christina Sweeney-Baird finished it in 2019.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean Daly
  • 11-10-21

Emotionally charged dystopian epic!

I just finished the book and I’m exhausted.
I’m relieved and feeling uneasy at the parallels and reflections of our current pandemic.
It’s unsettling just how much..considering this was written pre-covid.
As for the story..yup..brilliant. Y-the Last Man has to be credited, for obvious reasons but this has much more realism and threads of hope. Still the story of what comes after the disaster is really where the emotional slugs get fired. Loved the voices, well read and I appreciated the chunks of story told in sections to make quick listens easier.
Great book.

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  • Jo
  • 06-29-21

I ate this book up

LOVED it. It was relevant yet a twist on the current pandemic and really got me thinking. Now my problem is going to be finding a follow-up book that is as interesting as this one.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-15-21

Wake me up when it’s over

I was so excited to read this book , but throughout the book all the characters felt similarly monotone with no real emotional substance.

I grew impatient , lost interest and then went I to sleep . Zzzzzzzzz

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott
  • 06-13-21

couldnt finish. incoherent story.

pointless scenes. characters were whiners. painfull to listen to. gave it a good go, just could not do it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Aussie Jenski?
  • 05-01-21

Fantastic

Best book I have ever listened too. An amazing twist on a post apocalyptic book! I’m sad it came to an end