Empire: A Zombie Novel

( 2 )

Overview

The year i s 2112.

T he crippled U.S. government and its military forces are giving up the century-long fight against an undead plague. Born of an otherworldly energy fused with a deadly virus, the ravaging hordes of zombified humans and a nimals have no natural enemies. But they do have one supernatural enemy: Death himself.

Descending upon the ghost town of Jefferson Harbor, Louisiana, the Grim Reaper embarks on a bloody campaign to put down ...

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Empire

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Overview

The year i s 2112.

T he crippled U.S. government and its military forces are giving up the century-long fight against an undead plague. Born of an otherworldly energy fused with a deadly virus, the ravaging hordes of zombified humans and a nimals have no natural enemies. But they do have one supernatural enemy: Death himself.

Descending upon the ghost town of Jefferson Harbor, Louisiana, the Grim Reaper embarks on a bloody campaign to put down the legions that have defied his touch for so long. He will find allies in the city’s last survivors, and a nemesis in a man who wants to harness the force driving the zombies—a man who seeks to rebuild America into an empire of the dead.

Hailed as “A MACABRE MASTERPIECE OF POST-APOCALYPTIC ZOMBIE GOODNESS” on the Library of the Living Dead podcast, Empire brings stunning new twists to a shattering and unforgettable scenario of the not-too-distant future.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The Ghost has got the goods.”
—Stephen King
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439180723
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 3/16/2010
  • Pages: 293
  • Sales rank: 1,424,599
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David Dunwoody lives in Utah with his wife and their cats. Other stories from the Empire universe can be found in The Undead, The Undead: Flesh Feast, and The Undead: Headshot Quartet, all from Permuted Press; as well as Read by Dawn II from Bloody Books, and at www.empirenovel.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Empire


By David Dunwoody

Permuted Press

Copyright © 2010 David Dunwoody
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781439180723

CHAPTER ONE
Still Life, Blood on Asphalt



May 1, 2112


Atherton was dying and he knew it. With every weak beat of his heart, he felt his life ebbing out onto the road. He wasn?t sure where he was wounded or how. Didn?t really matter.


He was lying a few hundred yards from the overturned town car, which rested against a smoldering military Humvee. The road was supposed to be secure, but they?d requested an escort anyway. It was the escort that had flipped and crashed up ahead of them, and Atherton had swerved the town car but not quickly enough to avoid a collision.


He angled his head toward the wreck and looked for signs of life. None. Was he the only one ejected from the vehicles? It figured. Thirty-four, in his prime, handsome swatches of gray just beginning to show in his hair. It figured he would die now, alone. At least he would be prepared for death, could breathe his last words as he felt it coming over him.


A pale horse walked around the wreck and came toward him. Upon it was a rider and Atherton knew his name was Death.


He wondered if Death looked the same to every soul he claimed. For Atherton, at least, it was the traditional black robes, with a hood casting a shadow over the specter?s face. As he drew closer and dismounted, Atherton saw his white face and black eyes, like marbles set in clay. ?Have I already died?? he asked.


?Not yet,? Death answered dispassionately. He stood over Atherton, blocking out the noonday sun, and surveyed the landscape. The silence was unbearable. Would Death just wait there until Atherton bled out? ?I work for the senator,? he coughed.


?The senator?? Death frowned.


?Moorecourt. He was in the town car,? Atherton explained. ?I am?was?his aide.?


?The senator isn?t dead,? the specter murmured.


?The others???


?They are.?


?I don?t understand.? Atherton could taste blood on his lips and gums. His head was swimming from the heat, and he forced himself to concentrate on speaking. ?You just got here. But they?re already dead??


?I don?t normally collect souls myself,? Death replied. ?I merely mark their passing. Only in extraordinary circumstances?? His monotone voice trailed off. He was eyeing the wreck. All the while his ghostly steed stood silently.


?Why did we crash?? Atherton croaked. Fate? Was there such a thing? Did Death have a contemporary who wrote the endings of human lives in a great book? Or was it just an accident, a fucking accident? He wasn?t sure which possibility offended him more: for some emotionless sentinel to decide that he should be torn open and dumped onto burning asphalt in the middle of nowhere, or for shitty driving to be his undoing.


?There was a body in the road,? Death said. ?The soldiers drove over it, believing it was dead. It wasn?t.? Death?s gaze was fixed on the wreck, and he reached a chalk-white hand into the folds of his robes.


?It was an undead??


Ignoring the question, Death pulled his hand out, and with it a massive scythe, far too long to have been concealed on his person, the curved blade catching the sunlight and throwing it into Atherton?s eyes. He groaned and rolled his head to the side. That?s when he saw it.


The lone undead shambled around the town car and stopped. It could see them both, Atherton realized. Its hands and face were caked with blood, not its own. Must have been in the Hummer, feeding. It had caused the crash, lying prone and then driving some crude spear into the undercarriage of the Humvee, so that it could eat. Atherton felt blood and bile rise in his throat. Wait?was that how he?d die? Was Death here to watch as this undead dug out his guts?


Then, the specter took two steps forward and swung the scythe out in a horizontal arc, passing cleanly through the belly of the zombie. He rested the scythe at his side and stood still with the patience of eternity.


The undead didn?t move. There was no wound visible across its midsection, as if it had been struck by a phantom blade. Then, like a paper cut, the line bled into view, and the zombie?s torso fell to the ground, sputtering brown viscera.


Atherton tried to process what he?d just seen, lying on a deserted road in his own blood with the Grim Reaper leaning against his dreaded scythe. The zombie?it wasn?t just cut in half, it was dead. Really dead.


?You came to kill it.?


Death nodded without looking down at him. ?It, and others.?


Atherton tried to speak again, but couldn?t. His vision was failing. Death turned now, and Atherton trembled at the sight of his blade. Without a word, it was slipped back into the dark robes and out of sight.


Death knelt beside him. ?Your life is like a flame.? He again reached into his robes, this time pulling out a burning candle. Despite the blinding sunlight, the flame seemed to cast its own luminescence. It didn?t hurt Atherton?s eyes at all. It was calming, in fact. Familiar.


Death poised his thumb and forefinger around it. ?When you die, the flame merely ceases.? The tiny, pulsing light grew smaller then faded altogether.


Atherton was dead. Death crushed the candle?s wick out and returned it to its place.


The specter gathered his robes and climbed back onto the pale horse. They continued for a while down the road at a lazy gait, down to the gates of Jefferson Harbor.


? 2010 David Dunwoody and Permuted Press



Continues...

Excerpted from Empire by David Dunwoody Copyright © 2010 by David Dunwoody. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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( 2 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2010

    Misleading Title about humanity

    Unfortunately, Empire is a novel that focuses more on the evils of humanity that survival in a world over run by the undead. Empire deals with topics like drug abuse, homelessness, law enforcement, slavery etc... The language the author uses is often times very vulgar and turns the reader off. the author also tends to go into grotesque and vulgar descriptions of human crime and unfortunately does not take care to describe the actions of the undead as meticulously. The subtitle "A Zombie Novel" is misleading since, as aforementioned, the plot concentrates on crimes and evils of humanity rather than the undead.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2011

    Pretty good!

    I actually really enjoyed this book! It's a good and fun read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good plot idea, poor execution

    The plot and idea behind the story is provoking, but the writing style was disjointed and confusing. I couldn't discern the use of creative transitions anywhere in the story. All in all, it seems like this was the author's first book, although I do not know if that is the case or not. If there are any sequels, hopefully the author will have refined his writing style.

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