Captain Tom Collins and Phil McLeod were transporting a deadly weaponized disease across Illinois when a freak tornado devastates the town of Godfrey and topples over their van. The accident unleashes the pathogen into the air and immediately infects those who come in contact with it. Collins and McLeod call in the army and the CDC to handle containment and quarantine, but it is already too late. With many of the townsfolk gathered at the makeshift shelter at the elementary school, the pathogen can infect an accelerated rate. However, the virus is not the only threat to Godfrey. There are supernatural forces at work here from beyond time and understanding influencing the events in Godfrey.
White Fire is a fast-paced novella which highlights the best of Brian Keene’s skills as an author. Characters are diverse and exhibit their unique voices and personalities. The plot moves along at a brisk pace while also taking its time to highlight the devastation the tornado unleashes on Godfrey and showing the effects of the virus on those who are unlucky enough to contract it. While this novella could have easily been a full-blown novel, White Fire is satisfying and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
However, while I usually don’t take off stars for typos and grammatical mistakes, a short novella like this should not have too many errors. I was thrown off several times by typos where words were missing or grammatically incorrect. For example, Collins at one point wanted to make “peace” with another character, but the text says “piece.” There is another part where a character says “I helped you guys out Did my duty.” There is a period missing in the text. There were a couple more errors like this in the text, but I think it is clear it could have been proofread a bit more before publication.
Overall, White Fire is a bite-sized disaster natural disaster piece with a virus and supernatural elements involved, which tie in with Keene’s Labyrinth mythos. If you have never read anything by Keene before, I believe this is an excellent and comfortable place to start and sample his work. If you enjoyed this novella, I suggest going back into Keene’s previous work like The Rising or Earthworm God’s which are novels and a much higher apocalyptical scale.