Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Patron Saint of Plagues” as Want to Read:
The Patron Saint of Plagues
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Patron Saint of Plagues

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  139 ratings  ·  30 reviews
In this biological thriller of the near future, postinsurrection Mexico has undermined the superpower of the United States. But while the rivals battle over borders, a pestilence beyond politics threatens to explode into a worldwide epidemic. . . .

Since the rise of the Holy Renaissance, Ascension—once known as Mexico City—has become the most populous city in the world, its
Paperback, 512 pages
Published November 27th 2007 by Spectra (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Patron Saint of Plagues, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Patron Saint of Plagues

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 230)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I simply couldn't wait to be done with this book. It just never hooked me, and there seemed to be so much stuff that was thrown in just for flair. Like the main character's verbal tick of never using any form of the verb "to be"- there was no point to it, especially since it only applied in English and he spent most of the novel speaking Spanish. That's a petty complaint, though. Overall, I just was not satisfied with this book. It felt like it was trying to be too much, and it didn't quite work ...more
Not a bad start at all. Like Tom Clancy for people who actually know about science.
It's a near-future thriller about an extremely virulent and extremely deadly dengue. So, cool. It's not great. There's some poor writing: "an angry amount of mascara"? The characterizations are shallow, and the whole things about the verb "to be" was just plain annoying to the reader. But, it's an interesting story, and the author might eventually become really good.
Well-written, excellently paced medical thiller about an outbreak of a terrorist-designed form of dengue in a future Holy Renaissance–run Mexico City. The science fiction elements (chiefly, the pilone network that allows instant communication among those who have had the surgery) are key to the plot and its resolution, but rarely take center stage. The characters are complicated and human, dealing with difficult situations on multiple levels of emotion, religion, science, and politics.

I confess
Great epidemiology, weak characters.
Michael Harry
This was awful. The blurb on the back sounded interesting but in practice the whole set up was far too implausible. I can't see anything like that in Mexico or America's future.

The dialogue was very bad. I know that was intentional for a few characters anyway but it made for annoying reading and I thought this was pointless. The book also is a bit too technical in it's esoteric biological sectionsl for a work of fiction.

I nearly gave up so many times with this book. I should have done.
I bought this in an airport for a 12 hour trip and it certainly made the time more enjoyable. I liked the juxtaposition of an epidemiologic outbreak investigation and the author's creation of a world where Mexico has eclipsed the US in political power. The author's choice to use a future grammar in the dialogue is distracting (the lead character never uses any form of the verb to be in speaking). In my opinion, only The Moon is a Harsh Mistress has ever successfully used that artifice.
Fifty years in the future--US agriculture has been severely damaged. Mexico, under a religious dictatorship, has taken Central America and most, if not all, of South America and is at war with the US over Texas. A very deadly epidemic has started in Ascencion (formerly Mexico City). An American epidemiologist is brought in under the radar and faces challenges-professional, personal, political and moral as he fights the puzzling virus.

A good thriller.
Jill Yesko
What's not to like about a fantasy-ish futuristic eco-thriller set in Mexico? Think "The Hot Zone" with cyborgs. Great descriptions of the biology and physiology of the immune system (the science writer geek in my loves that stuff).
Mar 13, 2009 Ginette rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ginette by: Goodreads
This is one of the best stories I've read in this genre. Although there were times when I felt a little lost in the medical information, I appreciate that Barth Anderson didn't insult my intelligence by over-explaining. There were some interesting twists and turns, and, although a good ending, it wasn't a feel-good ending. There were also some interesting philosophical and political statements.
‘The Patron Saint’ was a bit difficult to get into at times and the pace lagged somewhat. But the intelligent and vividly described nature of this dystopia made up for all that. Plus, the main plot (trying to stop a manmade virus) never flagged one bit. The ending was quite satisfying and the socio-political commentary never overpowered the techno thriller elements.
Scott James
Pick this book up, and try to put it down. Anderson's world-ender is darkly compelling. I found myself thinking over and over, "this could happen, why hasn't this happened already."

If you like thrillers, storytelling, or just good-old fashioned fear, this is the book for you.
A futuristic medical thriller. I would actually give this 4 1/2 stars if it were possible. I enjoyed the book and thought the author did a good job of explaining his world. It was a little confusing at the beginning, and a little drug out in places, but overall a very interesting read.
A fast-moving bio-terror thriller about engineered viruses, epidemic containment, religion and politics, well written and tightly plotted. Slightly eerie echo of swine flu, as it is set in Mexico City (or Ascension as the new Mexico refers to its capitol).
Future Dystopia + Plagues + Mystery = my favorite sort of airplane pulpy read to have when dealing with canceled flights and missed connections. Interesting vision of technological advancements and a weak U.S. in the shadow of a Mexico religious megapower.
This was a bit of a slog- lots of religio-/politico-babble. Some interesting ideas but the narrative was so hard to follow- much jumping around in time and pov mad it hard for me to "fall into" the story and stay there for long.
Feb 11, 2013 Aramis rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Aramis by: Aaron
Excellent thriller with very vivid imagery. Loved the play on Mexican history/religiosity that's intertwined with the science fiction. Incredible that it's a debut novel (it's that good). Looking forward to future works by the author.
Timothy Neesam
A really good read, primarily because the main character learns, grows, and sometimes doesn't learn. He's human, makes mistakes, and helps propel the story to an interesting conclusion. A unique take on biowarfare.
This was a fun beach read, another virus mystery. Although, the main character’s non-use of verbs and grammar was a little annoying, I found myself editing more than reading.
Jan 25, 2009 Carlos is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
The plot concept is excellent and the writing memorable. But, as a writer, I'm awed at Barth's research in virology and immunology.
Near future epidemic novel. Great stuff. The science is comprehensible, the characters are compelling, and it's a rip-roaring plot.
A post-modern slightly cyberpunkish biothriller. A fair amount of fun, and nothing overly preposterous, but not much more than that. Fun.
Lost me in the first 30 pages. Sorry I bought it and I will be giving it away as fast as possible.
It is hard picking a book for the bedroom isn't it!? Most of my currently-reading items are heavy, and those that are not wrist-breakers have print the intsy-wintsy size and therefore swimming motion of bugs scrabbling over the page.

Judging by the opening, this doesn't look as if it will suit either but one never knows until a toe is dipped...

Opening - "I hijacked a remote to Puebla," said the voice behind the plastic pirate mask, its eye-patch and gold teeth leering from the old-fashioned broad
Realistic Sci/Fi. How a plague infects a futuristic Mexico City.
Intense and riveting, this would make an interesting movie.
If this book was 30% shorter it'd be 100% better.
perfect dock reading.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dydeetown World (The LaNague Federation, #4)
  • The Chains That You Refuse
  • A Hoboken Hipster in Sherwood Forest
  • Noticias del Imperio
  • The Name of a Bullfighter
  • Sun of Suns (Virga, #1)
  • The  Uncomfortable Dead
  • Have Glass Slippers, Will Travel
  • Stable Strategies and Others
  • End of the World Blues
  • Detective Story
  • Best Sex Writing 2012: The State of Today's Sexual Culture
  • The Armies
  • The Probability Broach (North American Confederacy #1)
  • Comandante: Myth and Reality in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela
  • The Memory Cathedral: A Secret History of Leonardo Da Vinci
  • The Trouble with Moonlight
  • The Omega Theory (Final Theory, #2)
Barth Anderson's imaginative fiction has appeared in Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Alchemy, Polyphony, and a variety of other quality venues. He received the Spectrum Award for Best Short Fiction in 2004. Regarding his first novel, The Patron Saint of Plagues, (Bantam Spectra; 2006), Salon said, "Anderson has some serious writing chops, and he delivers a page turner that is at once a medical thrille ...more
More about Barth Anderson...
The Magician and the Fool Book of Seven Hands, The: A Foreworld SideQuest Lark Till Dawn, Princess El Mago y el Loco (Best seller) The Mammoth Book of Steampunk

Share This Book