Book Review: Plague of the Dead (*** )
Just finished reading Plague of the Dead (The Morningstar Strain) by Z A Recht. The book received good reviews on Amazon and is book 1 of a new series which could provide continuing reading pleasure. So did it?
Well, first the good news: the description of the virus, how it’s spread and the logical presence of both fast and slow zombies.
The novel starts with emails between the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease and the Pentagon requesting extreme travel restrictions into the US to prevent a possible pandemic, and the refusal of the request. Then the narrative jumps to Africa where we see the first zombie appearance and the start of the epidemic. Unfortunately, the novel moves quickly to the quarintine of the entire continent. There is no buildup, just a jump to the US and allies blockading Africa by sea and air, with a massive (?) troop buildup along the Suez canal.
The fast zombies are infected, but still alive and similar in behavior to 28 Days Later. Once killed, they eventually return as the traditional Romero zombie that can only be killed by destroying the brain. The speed of infection depends on the location of the point and its proximity to the brain. The speed of resurrection depends on the severity of the infection at time of death.
Here’s the first hint of the major problem with the book. A 3 star general is in personal command of the troops along the Suez. He knows about the undead aspect of the virus, but is unable to share it with his troops which provide the last line of defense for the entire world. He doesn’t even order them to focus on head shots. The first group to encounter the zombies is nearly eradicated learning about the undead. The general arrives with reinforcements after the fact and admits the truth, plus the following bad news.
A group of 10,000 infected people has been spotted by satellite, following a speeding truck from Cairo to the Suez, yet the zombies arrive at the canal about the same time as the truck. Other than one Huey and one Apache, the great general uses only troops with personal weapons to prevent the mass of infected from crossing the canal. Needless to say, they don’t succeed.
That account for about 1/4 of the book and the remainder is similar. Some interesting parts with okay characters, but stupid actions resulting in massive losses.
Final Opinion: Check it out from the library, but save your money. Or read World War Z again.