PLAGUE OF THE DEAD
(The Morningstar Strain #1)
by Z. A. Recht
PUBLISHER: S & S (UK) | Permuted Press (US)
RELEASE DATE: May 2010 (UK) | Dec 2006 (US)
FORMAT: Paperback, 303 pages
GENRE: Horror, Zombies
THE END BEGINS WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED VIRAL OUTBREAK: Morningstar. The infected are subject to delirium, fever, violent behavior…and a one hundred percent mortality rate.
BUT THE END IS ONLY THE BEGINNING: The victims return from death to walk the earth. When a massive military operation fails to contain the plague of the living dead, it escalates into a worldwide pandemic.
NOW, A SINGLE LAW OF NATURE DOMINATES THE GLOBAL LANDSCAPE: Live or die, kill or be killed. On one side of the world, thousands of miles from home, a battle-hardened general surveys the remnants of his command: a young medic, a veteran photographer, a brash private, and dozens of refugees — all are his responsibility. While in the United States, an army colonel discovers the darker side of Morningstar and collaborates with a well-known journalist to leak the information to the public…
PLAGUE OF THE DEAD is such a fun book – if you can call the downfall of mankind fun, which I can as it’s just fiction… This book has all the elements I love in zombie fiction; lots of zombies, great characters and an absorbing storyline.
The writing is very smooth – nice and easy to read, great description and imagination. Recht also uses both types of zombie: the fast 28 Days Later kind, and the shuffling, slow Night of the Living Dead kind. And there are lots of them, thousands in fact all running and shuffling their way through humanity.
There are many characters in this book and it changes point of view numerous times. Normally this would annoy me but I really enjoyed it. It was interesting to see the crumbling world through the eyes of such different people ranging from a soldier and a journalist to a photographer and a doctor.
The other aspect to characterisation I usually have to have is depth, if a character has no back story or substance then I can lose interest pretty quickly, but although the characters in PLAGUE OF THE DEAD weren’t written about in any depth, it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the book. This is quite unusual, but I felt it was because the story in general is a really fast-paced read and didn’t drag. The tension builds as the characters begin to hear snippets of the disease spreading.
I also felt the writing was quite sophisticated compared to other zombie fiction I’ve read in the past and it was actually very refreshing. There are a lot of the typical tropes found in zombie fiction but Recht was a little different in his approach to his characters, especially the women.
The female protagonists are strong, independent and completely capable of their own survival. At one point they were being tortured for information and one of them refused to give it opting to take the torture instead. I enjoyed reading about them and not once did I roll my eyes in annoyance or frustration.
My only complaint is that as with most horror novels I read I find myself knowing what is about to happen, but I’m like that with movies too, I’m very difficult to surprise. Also, this zombie horror didn’t affect me as other books have – there were no nightmares, no skin prickling, but it was still a very good read all the same.
PLAGUE OF THE DEAD is an enjoyable zombie read – I’m looking forward to reading, Thunder & Ashes, the next, and last, instalment in this series – Amazon 1-click, here I come!
Sadly Z. A. Recht passed away Dec 2009 – a great loss to zombie fiction.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Plague of the Dead
- Thunder and Ashes
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