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
Open Preview

The Patron Saint of Plagues

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  160 Ratings  ·  32 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)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sheila Myers
I'm torn in my opinion of this book. While the plot was interesting in many places, there were others in which the story was brought almost to a halt by "dreams" and characters thinking about their pasts that seemed to have nothing to do with the overall story. The premise of a futuristic world had some good qualities; however, I believe it would have worked better to have given that basic history and the technological information at the very beginning. Without that information, I was lost until ...more
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.
Nov 07, 2008 Natlyn rated it really liked it
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
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
Michael Harry
Jan 28, 2009 Michael Harry rated it did not like it
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.
Jan 02, 2008 Sumiko rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 31, 2009 itpdx rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 26, 2008 Ginette rated it liked it  ·  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.
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.
‘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.
Feb 11, 2013 Aramis rated it liked it
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.
Dec 16, 2007 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jill Yesko
Jun 11, 2014 Jill Yesko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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).
Scott James
Mar 20, 2013 Scott James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Timothy Neesam
Mar 11, 2012 Timothy Neesam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 20, 2009 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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).
Jan 15, 2008 Slynne rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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.
Jun 25, 2008 Lane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intense and riveting, this would make an interesting movie.
If this book was 30% shorter it'd be 100% better.
Jul 06, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
perfect dock reading.
A post-modern slightly cyberpunkish biothriller. A fair amount of fun, and nothing overly preposterous, but not much more than that. Fun.
Realistic Sci/Fi. How a plague infects a futuristic Mexico City.
May 28, 2008 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Lost me in the first 30 pages. Sorry I bought it and I will be giving it away as fast as possible.
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.
Anthony Faber
Dec 29, 2015 Anthony Faber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this before, but didn't remember much of it, which I took as a bad sign. It's actually a pretty good near future medical mystery thriller.
Sheri Fresonke Harper
See my review at
Elizabeth Camp
Jan 30, 2014 Elizabeth Camp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Near future epidemic novel. Great stuff. The science is comprehensible, the characters are compelling, and it's a rip-roaring plot.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Accord
  • Harmony
  • Amortals
  • Dydeetown World (The LaNague Federation, #4)
  • End of the World Blues
  • Sighs Matter
  • The Sword and the Pen
  • Tycoon's War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America's Most Famous Military Adventurer
  • Nicaragua: Living in the Shadow of the Eagle
  • Stable Strategies and Others
  • The  Uncomfortable Dead
  • Deprivers
  • The Name of a Bullfighter
  • Renaissance (Rogue Angel, #1-3)
  • The Two-Space War
  • A Hoboken Hipster in Sherwood Forest
  • The Armies
  • Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana
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...

Share This Book