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Publisher's Summary

The acclaimed author of the celebrated literary horror novels The Hunger and The Deep turns her psychological and supernatural eye on the horrors of the Japanese American internment camps in World War II.

1944: As World War II rages on, the threat has come to the home front. In a remote corner of Idaho, Meiko Briggs and her daughter, Aiko, are desperate to return home. Following Meiko's husband's enlistment as an air force pilot in the Pacific months prior, Meiko and Aiko were taken from their home in Seattle and sent to one of the internment camps in the Midwest. It didn’t matter that Aiko was American-born: They were Japanese, and therefore considered a threat by the American government.

Mother and daughter attempt to hold on to elements of their old life in the camp when a mysterious disease begins to spread among those interned. What starts as a minor cold quickly becomes spontaneous fits of violence and aggression, even death. And when a disconcerting team of doctors arrive, nearly more threatening than the illness itself, Meiko and her daughter team up with a newspaper reporter and widowed missionary to investigate, and it becomes clear to them that something more sinister is afoot, a demon from the stories of Meiko’s childhood, hell-bent on infiltrating their already strange world.   

Inspired by the Japanese yokai and the jorogumo spider demon, The Fervor explores the horrors of the supernatural beyond just the threat of the occult. With a keen and prescient eye, Katsu crafts a terrifying story about the danger of demonization, a mysterious contagion, and the search to stop its spread before it's too late. A sharp account of too-recent history, it's a deep excavation of how we decide who gets to be human when being human matters most.

©2022 Alma Katsu (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

One of CrimeReads’ Most Anticipated Crime Fiction 2022

"Katsu has no peer when it comes to atmospheric, detail-rich historical horror, but this volume is more unsettling than anything she’s written yet, because its demons attack readers uncomfortably close to home. A must-read for all, not just genre fans." (Library Journal, starred review)

"No one does historical gothic horror better than Katsu, and I can’t wait to immerse myself in this very creepy tale." (CrimeReads)

"The action leaps off the page and has a cinematic quality. The Fervor is a stunning triumph and unfurls like a masterfully woven tapestry. It is suffused with secrets, pain, Japanese myths long thought forgotten, and above all the guilt that permeates throughout.... The ghosts of this story will haunt readers long after they’re finished reading.” (Booklist, starred review) 

What listeners say about The Fervor

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Pretty good- not like the others

The fervor starts off very promising. I was super interested in the subject matter and I couldn’t wait to see what became of this brilliant scientist and his discovery. This book felt very different to me than the last two I read by Alma Katsu. Although there was certainly a supernatural element that was threaded throughout the story there wasn’t a big cumulative supernatural moment. For whatever reason I felt like the writing wasn’t quite as strong. Usually Alma Katsu has a beautiful poetic way of telling horror stories which is super fun. Although I did enjoy much of this book it just didn’t seem to have the same quality to it. And even though it was based on a historical event it really didn’t follow the history as well as her other stories. It was clear she wanted to make a point about Asian hate in the wake of corona virus . I must admit I did not know much about that other than many of the crimes happening in New York City and other major metropolitan areas by certain groups. Although I would hope she will go back to her old style eventually I’m glad that Alma Katsu got to follow her heart on this and write some thing that meant a lot to her.

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Great load of anti-American propaganda.

This book is an allegory for today’s lies and propaganda. She worships the FBI as if they aren’t as big a part of the problem as the Pentagon. She totally missed that the US caused Pearl Harbor by freezing Japanese assets. The magical and folk lore parts were amazingly wonderful and beautiful, but the political naïvety and outright lies of the FBI or the US government being anything but culpable for continuous racism from 1776 to today missed any understanding of American imperialism and its praising the FBI while ignoring our full blown racism to globalist corporate fascism where Germany firmly its at the center with its Chinese partners funded by US Fed and Bundesbanc shows why authors should avoid politics and stick to myth and story making.

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Chilling historical fiction

After loving the previous spooky historical fiction from this author in the past, I was very excited for this one! It being an illness that made people more violent made it a different kind of scary from the monster vibes in the other books, but still chilling. I loved the daughter, and I was so curious to know more about the Kitsune that helped her, so I wish we’d found out more there. Overall a solid scary read that definitely resonates strongly given current events.