Pulitzer winner Lawrence Wright’s new novel eerily prescient about coronavirus

Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction author of “The Looming Tower,” has an eerily prescient novel hitting shelves about a devastating virus that begins in Asia before going global.

Advance copies of “The End of October” went out to reviewers this week — and the early buzz is that the page-turner has the earmarks of an instant bestseller.

In the novel, the pandemic starts not in China but in a refugee camp in Indonesia. “Many countries like to hide their health problems for many reasons — from business to tourism — but they are always poor reasons,” said Wright in an interview with Media Ink Thursday. He said he based the story on meticulous research from doctors and scientists at the National Institutes of Health as well as government and military personnel at a center of US biowarfare research at Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Md. He also spoke to the US Navy submarine base in Kings Bay, Ga.

“It’s unnerving to see so much of what I wrote happening before our eyes,” said Wright. “All I did is look at trends and ask, ‘What would happen if?’ ” he said.

“Nothing I presented as factual here is invented,” he said. “I just extend trends to a logical conclusion.”

The Knopf imprint of Penguin Random House plans a 100,000-copy first printing to hit shelves on May 12.

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