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The End of Men

by Christina Sweeney-Baird

Dystopian Fiction Science Fiction Debut Books of the Month Debuts Humorous fiction Star Books Thriller and Suspense

LoveReading Expert Review of The End of Men

Written before the current pandemic, this is a powerful, thought-provoking blast of speculative fiction, where a virus that only kills men hits the world.

An exquisitely unsettling and fabulous blast of speculative fiction awaits in this provocative, hard-hitting debut novel. An unknown virus that only kills men hits Glasgow in 2025, as it spreads, confusion, lies, and heartbreak follows. As Christina Sweeney-Baird explains in her author’s note, she wrote The End of Men before Covid 19 affected the world. While the current pandemic remained tucked away in my thoughts as I read, this is very much a work of fiction and the focus lies with a female lead society coping with life during and after a pandemic. This is told on a world scale over five years and is set as a gathering of memories, as though this event has already come to pass and you are reading a piercing slice of history. This novel contains a huge number of characters, and I felt as though I was observing them at a distance. Having said that, some characters return throughout the book, and I formed more of a bond, felt more of a connection with them. Short chapters, headed by the day after the outbreak and name of the character ensured my focus remained sharp and on point. There are bubbles of humour to be found along the way, as well as the more obvious emotions. Yes this is so very close to what is happening right now, but it is different enough to make this novel more readable as a result. Joining our LoveReading Star Book collection, The End of Men is a powerful, thought-provoking read that is both epic in scale and intimate in memories.

The LoveReading LitFest invited Christina to the festival to talk about The End of Men.

 

You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Christina in conversation with  and find out why everyone should read this book.

Check out a preview of the event here

Liz Robinson

The End of Men Synopsis

Glasgow, 2025. Dr Amanda Maclean is called to treat a patient with flu-like symptoms. Within three hours he is dead. This is how it begins.

The unknown virus sweeps through the hospital with deadly speed.

The victims are all men.

Dr Maclean raises the alarm. But by the time the authorities listen to her, the virus has spread to every corner of the world. Threatening families. Governments. Countries.

Can they find a cure before it's too late? Can they stop

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780008407926
Publication date: 29th April 2021
Author: Christina Sweeney-Baird
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 416 pages
Collections: 2021 Preview - Exciting New Books on the Horizon, 80+ Humorous Novels - from Wry and Sly Observations to Outright Chuckles and Laughter.,
Primary Genre Science Fiction
Other Genres:
Recommendations:

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The End of Men Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

Extraordinarily prescient and profoundly thought-provoking, The End of Men is set in the near future and opens in a Glasgow hospital in 2025 with no-nonsense A & E consultant, Dr Amanda Maclean, facing worrying signs of a potentially lethal virus.

Extraordinarily prescient and profoundly thought-provoking, The End of Men is set in the near future and opens in a Glasgow hospital in 2025 with no-nonsense A & E consultant, Dr Amanda Maclean, facing worrying signs of a potentially lethal virus. As a number of men present with flu like symptoms that escalate to death within hours it is Amanda who identifies Patient Zero, suggests that the virus is lethal to males alone and yet is ignored by public health authorities. An explosion of cases see the virus become a global pandemic with previously inconceivable implications for every aspect of society.

Dealing with her own personal grief as a wife and mother of two sons and yet determined to be heard and actually identify the source, Amanda is an inspirational figure. Her first-person narrative is just one of several that are followed and dominate the story along with that of an anthropology lecturer, a civil servant and one of the team engaged in the pursuit of a vaccine. There are arguably too many minor characters included in the book and it is impossible to connect with them all, however I am in awe of the scope of the novel with the author considering everything from enforced evacuations to same-sex dating and managing changes in the labour market. Yet despite the very obvious trauma and the death toll it is the characters resilience and human nature’s ability to adapt that imbues the novel with a burgeoning sense of hope.

Rachel Hall

Shivers ran down my spine reading this book. The storytelling is wonderful - perfectly paced, with an immediacy and emotional intensity that made me gasp ‘The End Of Men’ deserves to be the hit book of the year.

Shivers ran down my spine reading this book.

The author, Christina Sweeney-Baird, could never have known just how prophetic she was being when she wrote it, but it is astounding how much she has predicted. The world is in the grip of a viral pandemic that only affects men. Dr Amanda MacLean tried to warn the authorities, but no-one was willing to listen. Men soon realise the folly of ignoring her warnings as they begin to die. What follows are first-person accounts by women from all over the world, documenting the fall of the male-dominated patriarchal society we knew, and the rise of a female-led one.

The storytelling is wonderful - perfectly paced, with an immediacy and emotional intensity that made me gasp. She amps up the tension, opening out the story as the virus spreads, and lets us see how society could be if women were in charge. If I had read this last year, before the pandemic, it would still have been a great story, but this year makes it even more so. I could not put it down. The End Of Men deserves to be the hit book of the year.

Karen McIntosh

Pandemic thriller in a form of diary entries. fast paced, easy to read and entertaining.

It’s hard to read this book in the middle of pandemic and review it objectively as speculative fiction, as a dystopia. It’s definitely written well and a quick read, told through thrilling and enjoyable diary entries. It’s quite hard for me to get a proper picture as the writer started and supposedly finished writing this piece well before the COVID-19 pandemic. If so, it is truly prophetic as a lot that is predicted actually happened. Maybe a few details are different and exaggerated but the main gist is the same. 

On the whole, the diary entries were brief, so you didn’t get to know the characters properly. The entries were glimpses of perspectives and snaps rather than proper stories. I loved the story of Frances and her husband's love letters- he was stuck near Iceland and wasn’t able to contact his wife and wrote her letters, she managed to persuade the Icelandic health secretary to send food to the ship he was stranded on. This was my favourite story- and also the Filipino nanny in Shanghai. Heartfelt!

I sort of expected the loss of all the men to cause more of an impact on economy and I didn’t see it that clearly there. This is an enjoyable, quick read, very current and impossible to comprehend how it could be so prophetic. I wish the author well with her debut, I enjoyed reading it and found it pacy and thrilling entertaining and current.

Agnieszka Higney

'Fear, trepidation, heartache' describes their stories and your reactions - so terrifyingly possible in real life. Will they be in time to save humanity? The story of women's battle to survive.

Emotional, so true to life in our own pandemic, my heart was in my mouth throughout most chapters worrying whether these women will live, will they be able to save the world?

Each woman, unknown to themselves at first, are reliant on each others work, organisationa and knowledge. Days pass relentessly, and you worry that they won’t create a solution, a vaccine, in time.

You cannot put this book down, no matter what calls to you in the “real” world – your whole being is entwined with the lives of these brave, emotionally fraught women who must put their own feelings to the back of their minds, so they can concentrate solely on what the world needs.

A world in which men are dying at an incredibly fast rate. Those few men left worrying whether they are immune, or have simply not yet got infected. Male children dying, not just as older children, but sometimes within moments of birth. The way different countries cope, each in their own way, with saving the few immune boys for the future of humanity.

Your heart will be in your mouth whilst reading this book but it is definitely a book you must read.

Elizabeth Anne Rhodes

Spookily near the truth, The End Of Men is an addictive, gripping read.

I wonder if Christina Sweeney-Baird might be a little psychic, the accuracy with which she has written The End Of Men.

She takes a pandemic with flu-like symptoms and wonders what would happen if it ripped through the world killing only the male population whilst leaving females untouched, well not quite untouched, they act as hosts but are unaffected.

The End of Men is a fast-paced, riveting read from different women’s perspectives. A doctor, researcher, civil servant and anthropologist to name a few, all touched in different ways by the disease. Some take advantage of it, others are traumatised, but fight through it and all their stories are conveyed in a gripping read.

Sweeney-Baird writes with easy, the pace is good and the execution well- delivered, it really is difficult to put this book down until the final page. I look forward, with a little trepidation, to Sweeney-Baird’s next novel because if she really can foresee the future, we should all take note!

Heather Byrne

Prescient story of a pandemic – with a twist on COVID-19

We’re having our own pandemic, so do we really want to read about one? Well, actually this is really interesting, and different from ours, so it has some novelty in the differences and some possible lessons in the similarities.

This was written before COVID-19 struck. It tells the story of a pandemic, with a very high mortality rate, which can be transmitted by women, but is only fatal to men. Unsurprisingly, it’s the women who tell the story, a series of them with very different jobs and personal lives. The mortality rate is so high amongst men that perhaps their pandemic experiences are more similar to each other’s than ours are, only differentiated by the numbers of men and boys in their families that they have to lose.

The novel runs through the pandemic to afterwards, nearly five years after. So we get to see how things develop and change as a result. It’s not giving anything away to say that a pandemic which kills lots of men leaves a need for many women to fill the power vacuum. Interestingly, it then addresses many of the inequalities highlighted in Caroline Criado-Perez’s Invisible Women.

This reads like a pacy thriller but is packed with interesting insights and roads differently taken. Some parts set during the pandemic are tough to read, but it’s well worth reading if you can.

Sarah Webb

A fascinating, eye opening and at times uncomfortable read.

The End of Men is the story of a global pandemic – a new and deadly virus with flu-like symptoms is sweeping the world: its target - men. With only a small minority of men naturally immune to the virus, the race is on to find a vaccine. Set in 2025, the virus begins to take hold in Glasgow and the story unfolds through the eyes of various people around the world fighting to find a vaccine, to discover the origin of the virus, to keep the nation running and to protect and save the lives of their male relatives. Reading this during the COVID-19 pandemic was surreal. I found myself drawing parallels between the two pandemics and even sometimes wondering whether some of the measures taken by the Government in the book might possibly be instigated by our own Government at some point. A fascinating, eye opening and at times uncomfortable read.

Rachel Aygin

An eerily close to the truth account of a plague sweeping the world.

Wow! Just wow! Firstly it was very apt that this book was written in 2019 before anyone had even imagined a worldwide plague. Obviously when the was written it was more in the sci-fi genre, but now it will be more current affairs!

A female doctor in Scotland is alarmed by a number of cases over two days where men have a high temperature but die within 48 hours. No usual treatment can help. She attempts to report this but is ignored. The "plague" takes hold worldwide. It only affects men and the vast majority of men die from it. The novel follows a number of female characters and their lives throughout the plague. From the doctor who first discovered the plague to scientists looking for a cure, mothers, wives and children. The inevitability of death is present throughout, you know there's not going to be an easy fix for this. Whilst that is incredibly bleak, the strength of the women is fascinating. As a mother of two boys, I found myself quite emotional at times and can't begin to imagine how I would handle such a situation. I'm sure when it was written the concept of dashing into a supermarket quickly to grab only essentials, or staying well away from others fearing infection was just a wild idea. Sadly, it's now the reality rather than a dystopian future, but for me that didn't take away the enjoyment when reading. More it added to the chilling thrill that this could all well be true. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Related to and engaged with all of the characters. This is certainly a book I will be recommending to my friends.

Sarah Jones

A plague hits the world in 2025, killing only men. How does the world adapt? How do women rebuild and run the world afterwards? Food for thought.

This book is a powerful thought-provoking book, especially in the current pandemic climate. The author advised it was written before the troubling times we are in.

This particular plague kills only men, hence the title. Set in 2025, it all starts with one patient, Patient Zero.

I liked the fast-paced action for most of the book, although I did think it dragged a bit in the middle with the section on male babies.

The ending was well written, remembering those who had been lost but not forgotten.

Although the book told it from several viewpoints worldwide, mainly it is from the first doctor to identify the problem in Scotland, Amanda and Catherine, a mother and wife. Occasionally, I felt there were a few too many characters to get to grips with. Fewer characters might have made it easier to follow.

Facing the loss of husbands and sons, the book was handled with compassion and relevance.

I liked the way the aftermath was dealt with, women running and rebuilding the world and how the few men left did cope with that awkward situation.

An interesting book, especially at the moment. Food for thought, perhaps too much.

Helen Lowry

The End of Men is a brilliant and thought provoking novel about a time where men are wiped out by a virus, and women are faced with a whole new world of possibilities.

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird is a novel that everyone will be talking about.

Astounding in its scope, breathtaking in its creativity and impossible to forget.
This novel imagines a time where a virus sweeps through the world but is only fatal to men. When the first case is seen in a Scottish hospital, the doctor Amanda, tries to tell the authorities of her concerns as to what is happening and she is dismissed as a hysterical woman due to previous mental health issues. However, the virus is very real, and quickly eradicates most of the men in the world apart from those who seem to have an immunity.

We meet women from all over the world such as Catherine, Morven and Lisa who are dealing on a personal, professional and domestic level with the virus. You feel the intense emotional toll that these women face as they lose their husbands, sons and colleagues, but also the new opportunities it affords them.

The End of Men is an astounding achievement that makes you stop and think of the impact that losing the male population would have, but you also question the society that has put men front and centre in our world for so long.

A brilliant, thought provoking read that should be on your 2021 Reading List.

Clare Reynolds

A brilliant story of how easily the world can change forever and how life can be rebuilt after loss.

This book follows multiple characters during a pandemic that quickly sweeps the world, destroying lives. With the current pandemic I turned the first page of this book with trepidation.

It begins with an A & E doctor, Amanda, who witnessed the first case of the Plague, a virus that kills in days. I do not want to give away vital parts of the story but Amanda tries to warn the appropriate authorities with little success and before you know it the virus has spread and cannot be stopped. A race begins to protect those susceptible to the virus before it can wipe out life as we know it, changing it forever.

The characters within this book were relatable and the plethora of emotions well described. I loved how the book was sectioned into various parts as the story unfolded. It was well written and in the current climate doesn't feel as far fetched as it once would have.

Catherine Hogwood

There are key differences between our situation in 2021 and fiction but the similarities are startling and scary.

This would be a very chilling read at any time, but to read this while we are in the middle of a worldwide Pandemic and on the day the UK has just reached the 100,000 deaths mark is deeply unnerving.

It is 2025 when a mysterious virus strikes in a hospital in Glasgow. Dr. Amanda McLean’s fears are ignored as she quickly realises there is a sinister pattern developing to the deaths that are occurring.

As with Covid-19, the virus quickly gets out of hand and spreads across the world. Soon it is clear that it is attacking men only and as more and more men die, the desperate hunt for a vaccination escalates. There are key differences between our situation in 2021 and fiction but the similarities are startling and scary.

The story is told by a series of different characters in short bursts including a doctor scientist, journalist, anthropologist, and politician. Criticism of the way Governments handled the crisis mirror what we have come to know today.

Very quickly 90% of the World’s male population are dead and with women in charge, every aspect of life needs recalibrating. It threw up some very pertinent questions about how quickly the world can recover.

Dana Captainino

The writing and the story line were of a top quality and kept you turning the pages.

I don't know if it was advisable to read a book about a pandemic during a pandemic. But I did anyway and you know what I really enjoyed it. The writing and the story line were of a top quality and kept you turning the pages.

Told through various perspectives in countries throughout the world. This is a pandemic that targets men and women are the hosts, The male survivors are treated like pariahs and find themselves the targets of sexual innuendo. It is a book where the norms of society are turned on their head and women hold the reins of power.

It is a story of how society is destroyed and once a vaccine is found the cure is only the start of the story. Society is in for a revision of previously held norms and faces a massive rebuild.

alfred nobile

The End OF Men is the book you need to read next! Christina Sweeny-Baird imagines a world thrown by a crisis very much like the Coronavirus. Only difference: women can be the carriers but men are its fatal victims.

The End of Men is the book you need to read next! Christina Sweeny-Baird imagines a world thrown by a crisis, she calls The Plague, which is very much like the Coronavirus. Only difference: women can be the carriers but men and boys are its fatal victims. Sweeny-Baird writes from the perspective of multiple female women dealing with a pandemic and all that it entails. I enjoyed only hearing from female characters from different lifestyles because it was a little like reading Women's magazines. I was completely engaged and invested in the story as it unfolded.

The reader reads how one woman went from being a happy wife and mother to losing both titles. This Plague haunts and changes lives and forever, the world's history.

From the title, The End of Men the reader assumes only men are affected by this pandemic- but the author turns this into something that puts all males at risk. I found that most interesting.

When I heard about this book I still didn't know much about Covid 19 and I became interested in this only because for me it was set out like a dark, dystopian fiction. I was thinking it'll be like something Margaret Atwood is known for, in her creation of The Handmaid's Tale. I came to discover this was instead, a powerful human story that will grip its readers and pull at their hearts: it is real and relatable.

Saarah Nisaa

The End of Men Press Reviews

'I ripped through this. It's pacey, devastating, prescient, compelling and confronting, not only because it's the first thing I've read that even touches the sides of the very real pandemic we're living through, but also because a world without men? It was uncomfortable and fascinating to read about. This is a sure-fire hit, and rightly so!' LAURA JANE WILLIAMS

'Brilliant, prescient and unputdownable' JENNY COLGAN

'A tour de force - a feminist reimagining of society' GILLIAN MCALLISTER

'The most buzzed-about fiction for 2021' SUNDAY TIMES STYLE

A fiercely intelligent page-turner... at once thoughtful and highly emotive' PAULA HAWKINS

'The stuff that classics are made of' AJ FINN

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780008407926
Publication date: 29/04/2021
Format: Hardback

View All Editions

About Christina Sweeney-Baird

Christina was born in 1993 and grew up between London and Glasgow. She studied Law at the University of Cambridge and graduated with a First in 2015. Christina works as a Corporate Litigation lawyer in London. The End of Men is her first novel.

More About Christina Sweeney-Baird

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