The fireman follows a group of people who are infected by a spore that has been called "Dragonscale." It marks the infected with black lines that have beautiful golden specks in it. Often, the downside is that it also causes people to spontaneously combust. Harper, a young nurse, finds herself pregnant and infected and wonders what she can do to save her baby from being infected. Jakob, her prissy husband, find himself infected, but not with Dragonscale, instead he is infected with prejudice and hate. He blames Harper for everything that has gone wrong in his life, and continually attempts to kill her. While on the run, Harper comes across a man called the Fireman, who repeatedly saves her. But, he has a secret of his own and his secret could destroy everything, and everyone.
The book is broken up into several sections, which does, at least for me, make it easier to read. I only had to read a section at a time to get through it. There were moments that seemed unnecessary, and parts of those could have been cut. When all of the characters are at a camp there were several scenes that didn't tie to anything and could have been edited out without changing the outcome of the book.
Another issue that I did have was the use of cliffhangers at the end of each section. This became especially annoying when they didn't seem to lead anywhere. When one of the characters is his over the head and left in a coma, the end of the second states that they would not wake up for two months. However, when this character does wake up it seems to not really do anything to move the story along, as it could have been moved along through other means.
I know from reading other reviews, that several people didn't particularly care for the ending, but I didn't hate it. It did make the book seem as if it didn't have a conclusion, and I wondered if there would be a book two, but I don't know if that would be worth the read.
The characters could have grown a little more, or they could have been a little more perceptive to the world around them, but I thought the ending held up. There isn't ever a promise of a happy ending, nor in a sort of apocalypse, is there the promise of life after or life in safety. I feel that the ending was the only ending this book could have. If it had gone the way most would have assumed it was going to go, it would have been a disappointment.
Still not as good as NOS4A2, but I enjoyed it more than 20th Century Ghosts. If you have time, give it a read, but remember that is might take time, and that it is 749 pages long.