Above the Fire

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Pub Date 05 Dec 2023 | Archive Date 19 Dec 2023

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Description

An enthralling debut, Above the Fire crystallizes the relationship between a father and son as they survive a winter of isolation. Perfect for fans of The Dog Stars by Peter Heller and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Laboring under a shared loss, Doug and his young son, Tim, set out on a late season backpacking trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They find beauty and solidarity in the outdoors, making friends along the trail and falling into the rhythms of an expedition. But when reports of warfare and social collapse reach the ranger station, Doug—seeking to protect the only family he has left—withdraws even further into the backcountry.

The alpine winter presents its own dangers, as father and son must endure the elements, the solitude, and the ever-present threat of outsiders. As their isolation intensifies, and the nature of the country’s disorder becomes more unsettling, their bond with each other grows more fierce. But as spring approaches, they must decide whether—and how—to confront the perils of a changed world.

An enthralling debut, Above the Fire crystallizes the relationship between a father and son as they survive a winter of isolation. Perfect for fans of The Dog Stars by Peter Heller and The Road by...


A Note From the Publisher

Michael O’Donnell is an attorney in the Chicago area. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. Above the Fire is his first book.

Michael O’Donnell is an attorney in the Chicago area. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. Above the Fire is his first book.


Marketing Plan


  • National features and reviews
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  • National features and reviews
  • Digital advertising campaign
  • Social media campaign
  • Bookseller and library show marketing




Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9798200987757
PRICE $25.99 (USD)
PAGES 230

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Average rating from 34 members


Featured Reviews

This is quiet book about relationships - with yourself, with family, with friends, with nature. There isn't a lot of on the page action but the disorder that the country is undergoing presents a stressor that creates tension. Loved this book. It was thoughtful and had depth. The writing is rich with description and atmosphere. Highly recommend.

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*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

"Above the Fire" is the story of a father & his son stuck in the mountains as the US is hit by a cyberattack destroying the infrastructure (power grid, no electricity, no cellphone signal) and throwing the States into chaos. Because of looting and the violence below, the father decides to stay in the mountains, to wait for all of this to blow over after the winter. Isolated in a cabin high in the mountains, father and son survive. Doug makes sure that Tim's education does not suffer while dealing with intense anxiety and the total isolation from both the world at large and other adults / human contact. Not knowing what is going on below is scarier than I thought. I loved how soft spoken and thoughtful the father was, always pondering as to how to best protect but also help his son grow as a human being.

While this might sound like a dark, dystopian novel, it is actually quite hopeful and more introspective than action driven, which I really really loved. The novel is compared to "The Road" but I do not think that this is fitting apart from the character constellation as both plot, tone & ending are vastly different.

I really liked this book!

4.5 stars

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Set in a dystopian world where survival rules, a man forges an unbreakable bond with his young son. Doug and seven year old Tim go hiking in the White Mountains before cold weather sets in. Doug is an introverted widower and has trouble connecting with Tim. Their shared grief has failed to unite them. However, when an unknown national disaster cuts off all communication, they must work together to survive. Something unseen has left the country without power. There are riots, uncontrolled fires and unknown disasters. Doug decides to remain in the mountains and seeks refuge in a ranger’s cabin with Tim. Over the course of a lonely winter, he and Tim must rely on each to stay alive.

Above the Fire is beautifully written with characters so well described that you can see their souls. Debut author Michael O’Donnell draws us into an atmospheric world of outer bleakness and inner loneliness to show us the growing love between Doug and Tim. The other characters, David, the Danish couple and the man with the orange socks are also vividly depicted. I didn’t want this book to end. Thank you, Michael O’Donnell. 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Blackstone Publishing and Michael O’Donnell for this ARC.

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Very atmospheric and engaging, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Michael O'Donnell does a wonderful job of putting you onto the mountain and into the cabin.

I've been telling everyone who will listen in the past week about this book.

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