Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Plague Zone

Author David Wellington has had an interesting road to success. He has published most of his work on line for free. This is an unusual thing for an author to do and still breakthrough, but Wellington’s talent has enabled him to beat the odds. One of the few of these cyber-works that has yet to be published conventionally is the zombie novel Plague Zone, which can be read here. It is a revisiting of a post-zombie apocalypse world similar to that in his zombie trilogy, Monster Island, Monster Nation, and Monster Planet. Along with Brian Keene and Max Brooks, he is part of the triumvirate that has pushed zombies to the forfront of horror literature, replacing vampires as the creature du jour.

When Plague Zone opens, the U.S. is in the grips of a seemingly hopeless battle against a virus that turns the afflicted into mindless creatures intent on attacking the healthy in order to bite them and spread the infection. The protagonist is a librarian, of all things, named Tim Kempfer who was in Chicago for a convention when the virus began to break out, starting in his hometown, Seattle. He is watching a news report in the airport when he sees his wife killed by an afflicted neighbor. The rest of the novel details Tim’s attempts to reach now quarantined Seattle in order to seek revenge against the man who killed his wife (and presumably left his child to die). Along the way, he encounters a fanatical army officer intent on imposing discipline at the cost of individual freedom, and a ragtag band in opposition to the military. It’s a gripping read, and one that I would recommend. I look forward to buying this when it is published, as I feel guilty about reading a book without the author receiving anything for it.

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