Publication Date: February 4, 2013
It’s the 8th Century AD and Brother Stephen Diabetenos is a religious iconographer who is sent to Constantinople with the elderly Brother Theophilus as he companion. When they come upon a village that seems to have suffered a great attack, they find a human able to pursue them for miles though lit like a torch. What is this horrible plague that God has sent upon them? They soon meet up with young and fierce Michael Camytzes, the son of a military leader and a leader in his own right. Together they head to Constantinople to warn the Emperor. Can they convince him in time? And with the Saracen Army descending, what twists will this story take?
The author, Sean Munger, provided me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
I knew upon reading the description of [easyazon-link asin=”1619212293″ locale=”us”]Zombies of Byzantium[/easyazon-link] that it was a very good idea and if done right it might become one of my favorite novels. What Sean Munger manages to do in 268 pages is to get this idea very right.
Munger’s plotting and pacing were extremely well thought out. First he engages us with the characters, eases us into the concept and then engages us with additional key characters. None of the characters have seen zombies before or heard the lore so within the context of the story line, that terminology is never used (according to Wikipedia the term “zombie” is a Haitian Creole word for “animated corpse”. Certainly not an area of the world known to the world in which our story is set at the time. The entry is actually really interesting, click here to read it).
The setting of the story is the ancient world, but Munger gives us a very relatable feel to today within the dialogue. He uses actual historical facts with the idea that the winners write history and the winners aren’t telling us the full story. There are no special-effect moments. What these characters accomplish is what characters of the time would do.
One of my favorite characters is Emperor Leo. Our first impression is of a silly, vain man and as the story progresses, he seems cunning and conniving. Before long we realize that this man didn’t get where he is by some accident. He has brilliance and a cunning worthy of any ruler. Munger could have very easily used this character for comic relief alone, but instead chose to build a very real person under all of the pistachios and flatulence.
Micheal Camytzes is another of the many well-constructed characters. He’s brave, clever and caring. He is the first to recognize early on that the zombies will spread and that they are not a punishment from God, but a plague. He tells Brother Stephen in a bit of non sequitur that he is smart enough to serve whatever God will best ensure and that he continues to live to serve a God.
I truly enjoyed [easyazon-link asin=”1619212293″ locale=”us”]Zombies of Byzantium[/easyazon-link]. Munger’s crafting is flawless. The twists and turns that the author makes within the story line are simply genius. I’m looking forward to future works from this author. You can read an excerpt and buy Zombies of Byzantium by Sean Munger on: