Walker’s Flu is devastating the USA. Going to bed with a paracetamol and a bottle of Benylin just isn’t the answer, since most victims wake up dead and worse than that, starving hungry for human flesh. Ashley Parker is one of the lucky ones. She pulls through to find her strength and sensory functions have increased. Along with other ‘Wild Cards’ she is recruited by the Dolofonoitou Zontanous Nekrous (DZN), an elite black ops zombie fighting unit.
This is the second of Ashley Parker’s adventures of the Zombie Apocalypse which began with Plague Town. Plague Nation finds Ashley and her team mopping up pockets of the living dead around the DZN base of Redwood Falls. Only problem is Walker’s Flu epidemics have broken out all over the USA thanks to some dodgy flu vaccine and on top of that there is an even more secret organisation trying to subvert the DZN’s work for reasons unknown. When a mysterious fire breaks out at the DZN base it is up to Ashley and her team to relocate to the labs of the University of California San Francisco in search of a cure, but the city is swarming with more than just zombies.
OK, so my initial reaction to this book was; “Oh no not another bloody zombie apocalypse”, but author Dana Fredsti won me over with the quality of her story telling. The story careers from one set piece to another at a breakneck pace and there is never time to get bored. Yes, the characters, aside from the wisecracking Ashley, are a bit thin, but the non-stop action more than makes up for that. In that way it reminded me of the action novels of Bernard Cornwell where the bad guys are set up and knocked down, then get up only to be knocked down by the good guys again.
I did have one of those brief ‘engine room of the Starship Enterprise’ moments when the science of the zombie flu, (retroviruses in the vaccine causing the virus to mutate, yeah right), was explained, but then I thought why should it be a problem for that to reanimate the dead when I can quite happily suspend belief for a vampire or werewolf story. There are also plenty of geek references to other zombie movies, sci-fi shows and even Gary Larson’s Far Side cartoons to keep you on your toes.
In all, a fun if undemanding read. Plague Nation and Plague Town are available from Titan Books.
For more information about Dana Fredsti, click here.
Review by Simon Ball
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