The best books featuring plagues

Who am I?

I live in sight of an extremely busy highway. On the rare days when I wake up to an empty house, I go look at the cars to confirm that I’m not the last person on Earth. There’s always been this part of me that assumes an unprecedented disaster is coming. The best way to soothe that fear, is to read (and write) books about it. Understanding how people survive, or not, feels like a great way to prepare for the unknown. Plagues are particularly bad, especially those of the biblical sense. Water turning to blood, swarms of insects, prolonged darkness, all of these are lethal under the right circumstances.


I wrote...

Survival Instinct

By Kristal Stittle,

Book cover of Survival Instinct

What is my book about?

On the surface, the city of Leighton is just like any other city: tall buildings, busy streets, and populated by a wide variety of people. It also has rats. These vermin are unlike the average pest, because they are carrying a deadly contagion. Havoc ensues as the devastating virus seeps into the unsuspecting populace, turning friends and family against each other. Atrocities of savage behavior are spreading faster than people can outrun, and the citizens get recklessly desperate. Whether by joining forces, or by standing alone, survival is on everyone’s mind. Unfortunately, not everyone will escape with their life.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Deep

Kristal Stittle Why did I love this book?

As if a plague of memory loss that eventually makes you forget how to breathe isn’t scary enough, Cutter takes us deep under the ocean, to a lab where something has gone terribly wrong with our potential saviors. This is the most claustrophobic book I’ve ever read. You can feel the crushing weight of the water and the dark just outside the lab’s walls. There’s a wonderful sort of madness to the whole thing, and one scene, in particular, continues to haunt me.

By Nick Cutter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Deep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Afraid of the dark? You should be ... Part horror, part psychological nightmare, The Deep by Nick Cutter is a novel fans of Stephen King and Clive Barker won't want to miss.

A plague is destroying the world's population. The 'Gets makes people forget. First it's the small things, like where you left your keys ... then the not-so-small things, like how to drive. And finally your body forgets how to live.

But now an unknown substance with extraordinary power to heal has been discovered in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Nicknamed ambrosia, it might just be the miracle…


Book cover of Hater

Kristal Stittle Why did I love this book?

This is the novel that inspired me to write my own novels. It’s a wild concept, where a percentage of the population is suddenly overcome by hate. They become Haters, with a driving need to kill anyone who’s not a Hater, who they can identify just by seeing their eyes. Moody takes this idea and grounds it in Danny, a man who’s incredibly human and frustrated with his life. I’ve never before read a book about such a normal person in such an insane predicament. Danny’s not a hero, he’s just doing his best.

By David Moody,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hater as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

REMAIN CALM DO NOT PANIC TAKE SHELTER WAIT FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS THE SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL Society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened 'Haters' by the media, the attackers strike without warning. The assaults are brutal, remorseless and extreme: within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people are becoming maddened, vicious killers. There are no apparent links as a hundred random attacks become a thousand, and then thousands, right across the country. Everyone, irrespective of gender, age, race, sexuality or any other difference, has the potential to become a victim - or a…


Book cover of The Rats

Kristal Stittle Why did I love this book?

Where there are people, there are rats (except in Alberta, apparently, which I find suspicious). Rats have been known to spread plagues, most famously the Black Death in the 1300s, because of the fleas on their backs. But Herbert made the rats themselves the plague. I’ve always had a fondness for any animal with fur, rats included, but Herbert’s made me look at them twice. This novel is a violent tearing of the dominance humans have over our small neighbors, as well as the flesh of several characters. It makes you think about all the little creatures we unknowingly share our space with, living just out of sight in the trees, and the sewers, and even in the walls of your home. Nothing’s as solid as it seems.

By James Herbert,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Rats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special fortieth anniversary edition of The Rats, the classic, bestselling horror novel that launched James Herbert's career.

With a foreword by Neil Gaiman, author of Norse Mythology.

It was only when the bones of the first devoured victims were discovered that the true nature and power of these swarming black creatures with their razor sharp teeth and the taste for human blood began to be realized by a panic-stricken city. For millions of years man and rats had been natural enemies. But now for the first time - suddenly, shockingly, horribly - the balance of power had shifted .…


Book cover of The Ruins

Kristal Stittle Why did I love this book?

Have you ever visited a place with a different language and/or culture, and then gotten in trouble for not knowing the rules? Well, after reading The Ruins you will live in fear of this on every vacation you take, including the short ones to your own garden. In this novel, some tourists step on a vine-covered hill they should have left alone, and that’s it. The locals will kill them if they try to leave. Smith has created a simple horror out of being (seemingly) wrongfully imprisoned. Virulent vines and a weakening grip on reality make you question what your own choices might be. It’ll also have you peering closely at any open wounds, searching for a hint of green.

By Scott Smith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ruins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Craving an adventure to wake them from their lethargic Mexican holiday before they return home, four friends set off in search of one of their own who has travelled to the interior to investigate an archaeological dig in the Mayan ruins.
After a long journey into the jungle, the group come across a partly camouflaged trail and a captivating hillside covered with red flowers. Lured by these, the group move closer until they happen across a gun-toting Mayan horseman who orders them away. In the midst of the confrontation, one of the group steps inadvertently backwards into the flowering vine.…


Book cover of The Fireman

Kristal Stittle Why did I love this book?

I’ve always heard that burning to death is the worst way to go. Well, Hill decided to set the world on fire with spontaneous combustion brought about by a spore. Despite how awful this would be in reality, Hill brings us a shred of hope, of light. The Fireman is a story about human connection. Sometimes those connections can spell disaster, they can be abused or misunderstood, but they’re also what save us. This book is a flame in the dark.

By Joe Hill,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Fireman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The NUMBER ONE New York Times Bestselling novel

Nobody knew where the virus came from.
FOX News said it had been set loose by ISIS, using spores that had been invented by the Russians in the 1980s.
MSNBC said sources indicated it might've been created by engineers at Halliburton and stolen by culty Christian types fixated on the Book of Revelation.
CNN reported both sides.
While every TV station debated the cause, the world burnt.

Pregnant school nurse, HARPER GRAYSON, had seen lots of people burn on TV, but the first person she saw burn for real was in the…


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At What Cost, Silence?

By Karen Lynne Klink,

Book cover of At What Cost, Silence?

Karen Lynne Klink Author Of At What Cost, Silence?

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Child abuse survivor Reader Adventure traveler Animal lover

Karen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Secrets, misunderstandings, and a plethora of family conflicts abound in this historical novel set along the Brazos River in antebellum Washington County, East Texas.

It is a compelling story of two neighboring plantation families and a few of the enslaved people who serve them. These two plantations are a microcosm of a country on the brink of war, encompassing a variety of issues: love and friendship between men, relationships between fathers and sons, sibling rivalry, slavery, and the position of women in society.

At What Cost, Silence?

By Karen Lynne Klink,

What is this book about?

Adrien Villere suspects he is not like other boys. For years, he desperately locks away his feelings and fears-but eventually, tragedy and loss drive him to seeking solace from his mentor, a young neighbor Jacob Hart. Jacob's betrayal of Adrien's trust, however, results in secret abuse, setting off a chain of actions from which neither Adrien's wise sister, Bernadette, nor his closest friend, Isaac, can turn him.

At What Cost, Silence presents two contrasting plantation families in a society where strict rules of belief and behavior are clear, and public opinion can shape an entire life. Centerstage are the Villeres,…


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Interested in rats, the Pacific Ocean, and Mexico?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about rats, the Pacific Ocean, and Mexico.

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