By the Blood of Heroes: The Great Undead War: Book I, Joseph Nassise, Harpoer, ISBN 0-06-204875-2, 345 pgs., $14.99
March 19, 2013 Leave a comment
It’s 1917 and the Kaiser‘s scientist’s have stumbled on a new type of gas to be used in the trenches–one that turns the dead into zombies. They’ve also discovered that if they use it on a battlefield devoid of their own living then all of the reborn dead attack those who are living, primarily the enemy soldiers. But there’s an oddity as well, and that is that occasionally, one of the new-born dead remains conscious of thought. One of these is the Red Barron, who continues to fly and shoot down British planes even though he died in a crash. When veteran American Ace, Major Jack Freeman is downed behind enemy lines and taken captive, Captain Michael, Madman Burke is recruited to go in and get him back. Burke, and his merry band of oddball madmen, have to work their way behind enemy lines, break into a prison camp, and then return with Freeman to the allied front.
Okay, so Zombies in World War One may be stretching the whole zombie experience a bit too far, but, hey, if it’s fun then it’s worth it. Nassise does a credible job with taking what could be just a really silly premise and keeping it pretty straightforward. A couple of the characters are pretty stereotypical but no more so than you would find in any war movie of the period. Making the Red Barron one of the aware zombies is a bit of a stroke of positive intelligence as you get not only a known name villain but a pivot point for some of the action.
It’s an interesting book, entertaining, fairly tight in it’s plotting with decent characters. There is one major error in the book however. At one point the allies have one of the bad guys tied to a chair in the prisoner of war camp and they are working him over for information. One of the Americans says, “let’s shoot him.” And then there’s a noise outside, they leave the room. Never to return. I assume the guy is still sitting there, tied to that chair. Kind of a bone head error. I assume the book was read at least 3 times for errors so it got through each time. I read that passage 5 times just because I was sure I was missing something, some word, some thought, that would make this behavior okay. Nope, not in there. Ah, well, I suppose when zombies are involved you have to expect the occasional brain error.
I’d recommend it but only conditionally. If you’re not a zombie fan then there’s not going to be much here for you. Otherwise, it’s worth picking up.
And, to get your own copy, just click here: By the Blood of Heroes: The Great Undead War: Book I