Fire Will Fall

by Carol Plum-Ucci

An action-packed story of bioterrorism that strikes far too close to home.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547550077
  • ISBN-10: 0547550073
  • Pages: 492
  • Publication Date: 05/23/2011
  • Carton Quantity: 24

About the book

ShadowStrike poisoned the water of Trinity Falls two months ago. Now the Trinity Four, the teens most affected by the poison, have been isolated in a remote mansion, under twenty-four-hour medical care while scientists on four continents rush to discover a cure. Meanwhile, U.S. operatives scour the world for the bioterrorists responsible for this heinous crime, as two teen virtual spies, also infected, hunt for the criminals on the Internet. The danger remains real—for ShadowStrike has every reason to pursue the Trinity Four, and their evil plan will unleash a new designer virus that’s even deadlier than the first.

About the author
Carol Plum-Ucci

Carol Plum-Ucci has been widely praised for capturing the heart and voice of teens while seamlessly combining reality with the supernatural. Her first novel, The Body of Christopher Creed, was a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an IRA-CBC Children's Choice, and a finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult Mystery. Her subsequent books have all earned much critical acclaim and many award citations.



Scott Eberman

Friday, May 3, 2002

7:05 P.M.

Trinity Falls, New Jersey

I don't believe in omens. So when the rain fell in

buckets against the living room window as I waited for our ride,

I kept telling myself it wasn’t a shadow of things to come; I was

not leaving Trinity Falls forever. I’d be back by fall. We were all

coming back.

 The limo pulled up to the curb a minute later, and I dashed

out my front door. My head was soaked two steps later. A door

at the far back of the endless car opened, and a girl’s hand beckoned

like crazy. I dove through the door, and Rain Steckerman

quickly tugged at one of my soaked sleeves so I could yank my

arm out.

 The driver slammed the car door, but through the glaze I

noticed the door to my house was wide open and my two bags

stood just inside. Nobody else was in there. This is what can

happen when nine of the fifty-two pills you’re taking list memory

loss as a side effect.

 “Let the limo driver get them!” Rain said quickly, drowning

my curses. “Be rich and famous—just for this forty-five-minute


 I watched the driver run up the walk, grab the two swollen

garbage bags, and shut the door. I don’t own luggage—that’s

how rich I am. As for the famous part—I’m not a rock star or

anything you’d want to be. I’m just a guy who lives in a small

South Jersey town that found itself in a horror flick two months


 Some unheard-of international terror cell decided our

town of mostly professional, well-educated Americans would

be a good place to conduct an experiment. They poisoned the

water, hoping to kill every person within the five-block area off

one main water vein. They only killed two, so some people like

to say they failed miserably. I don’t agree with that. I was halfway

through paramedic training this spring when my brother

and I and Rain and Cora Holman were diagnosed as “Stage

Four Toxic.” We never know whether we’ll wake up feeling okay

or like we have some butt-kicking flu. Nearly a hundred Stage

Twos and Threes were diagnosed in Trinity, and even the Stage

Threes responded surprisingly well to antiviral medication.

Stage Four is another term for “a real challenge to cure, though

doctors on four continents are trying.” There is no Stage Five.

 I slid my arms back into my soaked sleeves and intentionally

waited until the driver got around to the trunk and popped it.

 “He forgot to turn offthe light.” I dashed from the limo,

and the rainfall drowned out the end of Rain’s “Wait! My dad

can take care of—”

 I threw open the door, ran upstairs into the bathroom for

a bath towel, and shoved it under my jacket as I took two stairs

at a time down, hurrying. I reached for the living room light

but stopped to survey the room before switching it off. Mom

had moved us here from Las Vegas thirteen years ago, when

I was six. So many kids had sat on this worn-out gray couch.

We’d watched so many football games, baseball games, hockey

games being won or lost here, over so many bags of Doritos

and microwave popcorn. My paramedic squad had stood in the

kitchen shooting the bull on so many non-busy nights. I had

been in training, and my squad loved Mom’s mint iced tea.

 Mom’s chair . . . I moved over to it, knew it still smelled

like Mom because I’d stuck my nose to it a couple of times and

caught my brother, Owen, doing it, too. My mom had drunk

enough poisoned water to move beyond Stage Four. I banged

the chair lightly with my fist instead of reaching for one last

deep inhale. It’s a smell you don’t forget.

 “Sorry!” I hollered as I raced back to the limo. The driver

held the door for me again. His rain poncho didn’t cover his

extra-polite smile, which reminded me of a melting wax face in

a horror movie.

 Rain didn’t look so thrilled with me now. She sidled up

to Cora, whose mom died the day before mine did. Cora was

wearing a sweater with a scarf around her neck, despite that it

was seventy degrees outside. The limo was long, with most of

the seating in one row from back to front, so Cora and Rain

were facing sideways. My brother, Owen, sat sideways also, but

up close to the front with his head on the backrest and his eyes

shut, though I could see him shaking his head slowly back and

forth over my actions.

 The three of them had just been released from St. Ann’s

ten minutes ago. I’d gotten permission to be released earlier,

having had a symptom-free day. I had come home to close up

the house, get some more pictures of Mom, and pick up whatever

I’d missed during our eight weeks in St. Ann’s. The three of

them were graduating seniors, and even though there was only

two years’ difference in our ages, I was eons more mature. Mom

always said I was born thirty. I’m not sure the nurses would

have let them come home by themselves.

 The driver pulled away as I unfolded the towel, and I made

certain not to give my house a last, longing look. Instead, I

watched Cora while I pulled offthe soaked jacket and threw

the towel over my neck. She was reading get-well cards. The

four of us had gotten more than fifteen thousand cards from

Americans who watched the news or read Time, Newsweek, or

People magazines. We tried to read all the cards and letters, but

Cora was way ahead of the rest of us. She’d give us a heads-up

sometimes if it was a name we all knew, like John Mayer or former

vice president Al Gore or Brittany Murphy. She’d wave the

card, and we’d pass it around. We got telegrams from dignitaries

of over a hundred countries. All of that kept us going.

 But with no remarkable improvements in our conditions

yet and being moved to a more permanent locale, our foursome

was getting harder to buoy. Right now, Cora was reading

tensely, waiting for Rain to explode on me so she could pretend

not to notice.

 “Hope your little campaign of refusing help from others

is worth it,” Rain lectured on cue. In other words, her dad

certainly would have noticed the lights being on in our house

while on his way home tonight and would have turned them off

and locked the door. “Now you’ll wake up with the Throat from

Hell tomorrow.”

 “Tomorrow is not important,” I stated, wiping offthe back

of my neck and my hair with the towel. “It’s always today, and

today, I’m having a four-star day. Besides. Acting like an ass has

therapeutic value once in a while.”

 Rain slowly reached out her hand, and I gave her skin. That’s

the good thing about Rain—she can sympathize with just about

anyone. Four-star day meant it had been a symptom-free day, at

least for me. I glanced at Cora again. She said nothing, but her

sweater and scarf were telltale: four-star wasn’t for her.

 Rain moved to a little refrigerator under the TV, saying,

“What’s your pleasure? Coke? Diet Coke? Sprite? Or water?”


 “C’mon, don’t be a party pooper. Club soda . . .” She made

a big deal out of filling a plastic cup from a silver ice bucket

and pouring Perrier over the top, though her eyes were glassy

enough to reflect the little overhead light. Tears or fever?


"This sequel to the outstanding Streams of Babel (2008) more than lives up to its predecessor's standard. A taut read, it's hard to put down, with characters readers will care about and plenty of momentum. Humor is deftly woven into both character development and dialogue, lightening the mood at just the right spots. A must-read, all-too-contemporary page-turner."--Kirkus, starred review

"Sexual tension and fragile relationships are part of the story as much as the terrorist hunt is, and the two couples’ fears about their own possible impending mortality will captivate a high-school audience."--Booklist