"By The Blood Of Heroes" by Joseph Nassise

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bythebloodofheroes.pngThe first installment in author Joseph Nassise's new "Great Undead War" series, By The Blood Of Heroes (click here to reserve our copy) is an exciting and very gory action-adventure/war/horror tale that holds your interest from start to finish.



A mixure of various genres, including steampunk and horror, and reminiscent of war thrillers by Alistair MacLean and (especially) the G-8 pulp adventures by Robert J. Hogan, By The Blood Of Heroes (hereafter BTBOH) is set in an alternative timeline where World War One didn't end in 1918, but has continued into the 1920s, where this novel is set.  That's thanks to the Germans having unleashed a deadly gas that causes their  soldiers to rise up from the dead as flesh-eating, horribly mutated zombies (here called "shamblers", though the Z word is used briefly), seemingly impervious to gunfire, who are then sent off by the Kaiser's forces to battle the Allies in the battlefield.  (As with the zombies in George Romero's films, one shot to the brain seems the only way to stop them.) 


When an American flier, Major Jack Freeman, is shot down over occupied territory, his half brother Captain Michael "Madman" Burke is assigned to lead a small group of men, each an expert in a certain field, to rescue him.  Freeman's father is the President of the United States and the Allies fear that something called the Arcane Brotherhood, a group of German scientists and occult experts, may use the pilot to strike at the President.

Meanwhile, it turns out that some shamblers who've returned from the dead, such as Manfred von Richthofen, the famous Red Baron, not only retain their memories, but now possess increased intelligence and physical strength.  And von Richthofen, who has his own mad plans for conquering Europe and possibly the rest of the world, is now overseeing production of an even more powerful gas that'll turn living people into shamblers....

I can't give away more, but BTBOH is a strong and compelling thriller from start to finish. Nassise brings out a number of strong images, including various shambler attacks on Allied soldiers, the protagonists' battles on land and in the air, and the sense of utter devastation along the battlefield with corpses literally stacked up on each other.  The casual acceptance by the characters of various anachronistic steampunk devices and vehicles (including airships and a mole-like tank that pops up in the opening chapter), and the sometimes darly humorous internal dialogues by the main characters, help keep the reader from getting too repelled by the very stark and bloody imagery. 

The stunning and powerful ending sets up things on a grand scale for the next book in the series.  You bet I'll be checking that one out. 

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This page contains a single entry by Ed published on September 15, 2012 4:37 PM.

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