Book Review – DUE PREPARATIONS FOR THE PLAGUE by Janette Turner Hospital

Due Preparations for the Plague Synopsis

Due Preparations for the Plague by Janette Turner HospitalThis electrifying novel chronicles the lives of two strangers connected by the tragic loss of parents in a hijacked Paris-New York flight. As an adult, Samantha, one of the children set free by the terrorists, has become obsessed with the hijacking. Under the guise of her senior thesis, she pulls Lowell, the son of a victim, into a web of terror, death, and betrayal that he has spent his adult life trying to forget.

Janette Turner Hospital probes with astonishing acuity the murky worlds of espionage and intelligence gathering, and the painful meaning of survival. (Audible)


First things first, this is not a book for the squeamish or those who like to see the world through rose-coloured glasses. When you pick up Due Preparations for the Plague, prepare to have those glasses shattered!

Due Preparations for the Plague by Janette Turner Hospital is a book that has left a lasting impression on me.  It is a title that is difficult to categorise.

It is high quality literature. The prose is superb – haunting and compelling. The mysterious plot is one of the most complex and intelligent I have read in quite some time.

In Due Preparations for the Plague Janette Turner Hospital presents a powerful warning of just how tenuous our lives and the liberties we take for granted can be.

It is also an intense psychological thriller. Hospital has crafted some of the most disturbed fictional characters I have ever come across. She has created them and then dug into their psyche with chilling results. She has shown that at extremis the human mind can justify the seemingly unthinkable.

Janette Turner Hospital has expertly tapped into the desired effect of terrorism, the destabilisation of whole societies through the acts of a fanatical few.

Due Preparations for the Plague touches on such a vast array of issues, far too many to mention, and if anything that is probably its only weakness. Along with a literary display and intense psychological thriller, this could also be considered an action-adventure story and on various levels a romance also. Its sheer ambition could be considered indulgence in a few instances and some of the more philosophical passages laboured from my perspective.

I listened to this title in audio narrated by Sean Mangan. Sean Mangan is a narrator I have enjoyed before – Matthew Reilly’s Hell Island and Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves. His voice is dark and menacing, just perfect for the mood of this story.

Janette Turner Hospital’s Due Preparations for the Plague is intense and compelling fiction, that at times leaves you asking, could or has this really happened? Highly recommended for deep thinkers with strong stomachs.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5

BOOK DETAILS: Due Preparations for the Plague (Amazon & Audible); Due Preparations for the Plague (B&N); Due Preparations for the Plague (The Nile – Australia)

Genre: Action-Adventure, Mystery, Thriller, Literature, Romance, Audio

* This review counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2012, The Australian Women Writers Challenge and Aussie Author Month.

Author Information: Born in 1942, Janette Turner Hospital grew up in Queensland, Australia. She began her teaching career in remote Queensland high schools, but since her graduate studies she has taught in universities in Australia, Canada, England, France and the United States. She has been a Visiting Professor and Distinguished Writer in Residence at M.I.T., Boston University, Colgate University, and Columbia University in New York.

– Check out Janette Turner Hospital’s website

– Read Janette Turner Hospital’s interview with The Australian, October 2011

Due Preparations for the Plague won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award 2003

Other reviews of Due Preparations for the Plague: The Guardian ; Sydney Morning Herald ; Blog Critics ; PopMatters

Just some of the other titles by Janette Turner Hospital: Forecast: Turbulence, Orpheus Lost, North of Nowhere South of Loss, Oyster, The Last Magician, The Tiger in the Tiger Pit, Dislocations, Isobars