I enjoy historical fiction in its regular form (PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follett is one of my favorite books of all time), but ZOMBIES OF BYZANTIUM combines that genre with my favorite horror subject, the living dead. The result is a fun and entertaining jaunt back in time that will leave you wondering if history was written correctly.
If you are not familiar with ZOMBIES OF BYZANTIUM, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Samhain Publishing:
It’s the 8th century A.D., and the Byzantine Empire has got problems. A ruthless schemer has just overthrown the emperor and taken the crown for himself. The Saracen army is attacking Constantinople. Only one thing could make these problems look petty by comparison: an invasion of undead, flesh-eating zombies.
One young monk has witnessed the horror of the zombies and lived to tell the tale. When the new emperor hears of the danger, he hatches a wild plan. He puts the young monk in charge of creating an army of zombies to defeat the invaders. But it’s not that easy to control the living dead…
As I mentioned, I like historical fiction, especially when it is written around this time period. Something about the rawness of the world back then really draws me. But although it was a simpler time, the people back then obviously still had problems and issues just like we do today. For this reason, I think the concept of pitting ancient peoples against something like zombies is a clever and original idea.
ZOMBIES OF BYZANTIUM is well written with simple prose and plenty of imagination. Author Sean Munger does a brilliant job of recreating the ancient world with words and putting the reader in the center of the 8th century Byzantine Empire. This realism allows for complete immersion into the story, and thus gives a more enjoyable reading experience.
My sole complaint about ZOMBIES OF BYZANTIUM is that the characters sometimes use modern day phrases (or phrases that I don’t believe were around at that time); a couple of examples are “life of the party”, “hard-ass”, and “assholes”. This doesn’t detract from the story itself, but it was something that jumped out at me early on as I started reading.
Still, ZOMBIES OF BYZANTIUM is a great read and is definitely one you should check out. It is inventive and original, a stylish entry into the zombie fiction genre. It hits store shelves early next month, so make a note to give it a look.