The Fervor by Alma Katsu

Source: Purchased
Hardcover, 320 pgs.
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The Fervor by Alma Katsu is the perfect balance of suspense, supernatural, and historical fiction. Meiko and Aiko Briggs are interned in Minidoka during WWII, while Meiko’s husband, Jamie, fights overseas as a pilot. The story shifts from 1944 to 1927 where we learn a little bit about Meiko’s family history and her father’s atmospheric research. What her father uncovered while working on a remote Japanese island Shikotan will come into play later.

Readers also will meet Archie and Elsie, the preacher and his wife, who were family friends of the Briggs. Something comes between the foursome when the war breaks out. When white motes appear and explosions happen in remote places across the United States, a fervor starts to take hold.

“She looked at the smoldering heap, which still billowed and heaved in the night air, like a breathing creature, tentacled and ashen.” (pg. 35-6)

Working in the background is an intrepid reporter who uncovers a secret balloon in the woods with strange writing. She starts to piece together the fervor taking hold in small, remote towns across America. No one is immune, not even the preacher. Katsu’s interned characters are strong, but they shouldn’t have to be. They are Americans and love their country, and Mr. Briggs is sacrificing himself for freedom.

The Fervor by Alma Katsu is a work of fiction, but she captures the atmosphere of WWII in America and the fervor that caught up so many and led to the interment (read imprisonment) of American citizens. I’ve read a number of books about this period and these camps, but there should be more about this time period taught to students across the country. We need more brave souls to examine our not-so-great history, so that a new/old fervor doesn’t take over and lead to more dark U.S. history.

RATING: Cinquain

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About the Author:

Alma Katsu is the author of The Taker, The Reckoning, and The Descent. She has been a signature reviewer for Publishers Weekly and a contributor to The Huffington Post. She is a graduate of the Master’s writing program at the Johns Hopkins University and received her bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University. Prior to the publication of her first novel, Katsu had a long career as a senior intelligence analyst for several US agencies and is currently a senior analyst for a think tank. She lives outside of Washington, DC, with her husband.


  1. This sounds captivating. Great review!