Zombie Army: Fortress Of The Dead – Chris Roberson (Solaris Books)

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I’ll admit that I wasn’t very excited by the prospect of reviewing another zombie book. The genre has been done to death in books, movies and on television and really has to be quite special to pique my interest these days. Otherwise it runs the risks of being cast aside and added to the pile of books gathering dust on my my shelf, filed next to teen vampires and all but forgotten. Before I tossed it on top of that pile though, I took a second glance at the cover and saw that it mentioned Nazi’s. As much as that makes me sound like some sort of awful fascist sympathizer, there is something equally frightening and fascinating when Hitler’s boys are added to a sci-fi or horror story. They always add something to the mix. Something abhorrent, poisonous and vile granted, but “something” nonetheless.

Author Chris Roberson, who has several alternate history books to his name, has managed to inject the undead into the final days of World War II. Hitler may be dead and the Nazi’s on their knees, but there is a far bigger threat on the horizon. Seasoned dead hunter Jun has stumbled upon a horde of the undead  in Italy, but may have also just uncovered a secret plot that could be bigger than the war itself, as he discovesr a secret hideout where surviving Nazi’s have regrouped and learnt how to control the undead.

As the creator of the hit zombie show iZombie, Zombie Army is a chance to for Roberson to flex his muscles in not just one, but two of his favoured genres, and do justice to both at the same time. I haven’t felt this way about zombies since Robert Kirkman first picked up a pen in 2003 and wrote about deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes. Based on the games of the same name, Zombie Army is a tense energetic romp with well-developed and interesting characters,  that breathes much needed new life and fresh ideas into a very tired genre. Chris Andrews

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