Publication Date: June 3, 2014
In Zombie Rebellion by Sean Munger, it’s 1794 in Pennsylvania and the local tax collector, Roger Clymer, has the unenviable task of collecting a new whiskey tax. When opposition starts to rise, Roger and his son wait for the arrival of George Washington and his troops with a limited number of bullets and a rising zombie horde.
Roger is a man that is really not into his job. Let’s face it, a Federal Tax Collector would not be the most welcome guest to show up on one’s doorstep. Roger has delayed collecting the tax as long as he possibly can and has no other choice but to teach his son, Nathan, that sometimes you have to do your job even if there’s no chance that it’ll turn out well. Munger jumps right into the zombie storyline and the isolation and desperation of Clymer are conveyed in the picturesque setting. Roger must team up with the native population and look into their world and the attitude of the day, each to the other was quite interesting and felt as though Munger pulled the information straight from primary sources.
Munger is a researcher and a storyteller. His eighteenth-century set novel reads as a flawlessly researched historical piece. As with his earlier work, Zombies of Byzantium, reviewed on this site, there is a sense that the zombie storyline is what really happened, but those that chronicled the life of the day kept the grisly secret. The author’s storytelling skill is showcased in the easy flow of the narrative; readers are given fleshed-out characters with logical motivations. There are warnings and Easter eggs throughout the story that will delight fans of this genre.
The brilliance of zombies as a tool for historical fiction is that they are the perfect weapons. They are mindless and they replicate themselves through infection, so as many zombies as you might destroy, it only takes one to make a new horde. If you’re a viewer of The Walking Dead, you see characters identifying on some level with the zombies. It’s an easier way of life and better than running, or so it would seem. When things look the worst, it has to be at the back of the mind that the pain would only last for a minute. As with most first encounters with zombies or “bezerkers” as Roger calls them, he shoots wildly with the musket and doesn’t stop the oncoming zombie; so he and Nathan react in a logical way extricating themselves from the situation. Munger’s growth of the characters within their world is organic. I won’t give any spoilers but; as with any zombie novel, I wouldn’t get too attached to characters.
Munger’s ability to mesh genres is to be admired. Zombie Rebellion is expertly written without any plot holes or unnecessary scenes. The editing of the work is extremely clean and the flow is smooth, fast and engaging. Munger is clearly a practiced author that knows his subject and is uncompromising in the story laid out. Would General Washington arrive in time? There are no guarantees.
So is Zombie Rebellion perfect for Halloween reading? It is a very well written and solid historical work centering around zombies. To my mind, it’s a perfect skin-crawling read. Pick Zombie Rebellion up today.
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