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Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: Invasion
     

Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: Invasion

4.9 7
by Jay Bonansinga, Robert Kirkman (Created by)
 

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Out of the ashes of a devastated Woodbury, Georgia, two opposing camps of ragtag survivors develop - each one on a collision course with the other.

Underground, in the labyrinth of ancient tunnels and mine shafts, Lilly Caul and her motley crew of senior citizens, misfits, and children struggle to build a new life. But a secret ambition still burns in Lilly's

Overview

Out of the ashes of a devastated Woodbury, Georgia, two opposing camps of ragtag survivors develop - each one on a collision course with the other.

Underground, in the labyrinth of ancient tunnels and mine shafts, Lilly Caul and her motley crew of senior citizens, misfits, and children struggle to build a new life. But a secret ambition still burns in Lilly's heart and soul. She wants her beloved town of Woodbury back from the plague of walkers, and now the only thing that stands in her way currently roams the wasted backwaters of Georgia...

Way out in the hinterlands, amidst the rising tide of walkers that seem to be pushing in from all directions, the psychotic Reverend Jeremiah Garlitz rebuilds his army of followers with a diabolical secret weapon. He has designs on the destruction of Lilly and her crew - the very people who vanquished his cultish church - and now, for the first time, he has the means to bring a special brand of hell down upon the tunnel dwellers.

The final confrontation between these two human factions unleashes an unthinkable weapon - forged from the monstrous hordes of undead, perfected by a madman, and soaked in the blood of innocents.

Jay Bonansinga along with the creator of the TV sensation The Walking Dead comes the next installment in this terrifying and completely original series of novels, where the legions of the dead come alive to carve out their domain from the television to the page.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
05/15/2015
Bonansinga, who with Robert Kirkman coauthored the first four novels based on the Walking Dead comics series-turned-television show created by Kirkman, is now on his own. With Woodbury, GA, in ruins, Lilly Caul is hiding out underground even as the Rev. Jeremiah Garlitz plans an attack.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250058508
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
10/06/2015
Series:
Walking Dead Novels Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
327,514
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead

Invasion


By Jay Bonansinga

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2015 Robert Kirkman, LLC.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-05850-8



CHAPTER 1

"Please, for the love of Christ, STOP THAT INFERNAL BELLYACHING FOR ONE BLESSED MINUTE!!" The tall man behind the steering wheel struggles to keep the battered Escalade on the road and maintain his speed without clipping another jackknifed semi or cluster of dead things milling about the edges of the two-lane. His voice is hoarse from all the yelling. It feels as though every muscle in his body is on fire. He has blood in his eyes from an oozing wound along the left side of his scalp. "I told you, we're gonna getcha medical attention come sunup — soon as we clear this dad-blasted herd!"

"Just sayin' ... ain't doin' too good, Rev. ... Think one of my lungs is punctured!" The young man in the backseat — one of two passengers in the SUV — leans his head against the broken rear window as the vehicle rumbles past another cluster of ragged, dark figures dragging along the road's gravel shoulder, fighting over something dark and wet.

Stephen Pembry looks away from the window, blinking at the pain, wheezing miserably, wiping tears. A pile of bloody cloths torn from his shirttail litters the seat next to him. A gaping jagged hole in the glass blows a slipstream of wind through the dark backseat, stirring the rags and tossing the young man's blood-matted hair. "Can't breathe right — can't get a good breath, Rev — I mean, the point is, we don't find a doctor soon, I'm gonna be uppa creek without a paddle."

"You think I ain't aware of that?!" The big preacher grips the steering wheel tighter, his huge, gnarled hands going ashen white. His broad shoulders — still clad in a black, battle-tattered church coat — hunch over the dash, the green lights of the instruments illuminating a long, deeply lined, chiseled face. He has the face of an aging gunslinger, pocked and creased by many hard miles. "Okay ... look ... I'm sorry I got cross with ya. Listen, Brother. We're almost to the state line. Sun'll be up soon, and we'll find help. I promise. Just hang in there."

"Please make it soon, Rev," Stephen Pembry murmurs around a hacking cough. He holds himself as though his guts are about to spill out. He gazes out at the moving shadows behind the trees. The preacher has put at least two hundred miles between them and Woodbury, and yet signs of the super-herd still riddle the countryside.

Behind the wheel, Reverend Jeremiah Garlitz glances up into the hairline fractures of the rearview mirror. "Brother Reese?" He scans the shadows of the backseats, studies the other twenty-something young man slumped against the opposite broken window. "How you holding out, son? You okay? Talk to me. You still with us?"

The boyish face of Reese Lee Hawthorne becomes visible for just an instant as they pass the distant orange glow of a fire, either a farm or a forest or a small survivor community, all of it going up in flames, a mile-long conflagration that spews snowflakes of ash up into the atmosphere. For a moment, in the flickering light, Reese looks as though he's unconscious, either asleep or blacked out. All at once he blinks his eyes open and convulses in his seat as though electrocuted. "Oh — I was just — oh Lord — I was having a wing-dinger of a dream." He tries to get his bearings. "I'm okay, I'm good ... bleeding's stopped. ... But sweet Jesus that was one nasty dream."

"Keep talking, son."

No response.

"Tell us about the dream."

Still no reply.

* * *

They drive in silence for a spell. Through the gore-smudged windshield, Jeremiah can see his headlight beams illuminating the rushing white lines of leprous asphalt, mile after mile of wreckage-strewn road churning under them, a never-ending landscape of The End, a desolate wasteland of rural decay after almost two years of the plague. Skeletal trees on either side of the highway blur in the preacher's burning, teary gaze. His own ribs pang intermittently with each twist of his midsection, taking his breath away — maybe a fracture, maybe worse, his wounds sustained in the tumultuous confrontation between his minions and the people of Woodbury.

He assumes Lilly Caul and her followers all perished in that same vast mob of walkers that had wrought such havoc on the town, barreling through barricades, overturning cars, burrowing into homes and buildings, eviscerating the innocent and guilty alike, and ruining Jeremiah's plans to stage his glorious ritual. Was the Good Lord offended by Jeremiah's grand scheme?

"Talk to me, Brother Reese." Jeremiah smiles at the reflection of the haggard young man in his rearview. "Why don't you tell us about the nightmare. After all ... got a captive audience here, right?"

For another moment, the awkward silence continues, the white noise of the wind and the drumming of the tires providing a hypnotic soundtrack to their misery. After a long, girding breath, the young man in the backseat finally begins murmuring in a soft, scratchy voice: "I don't know if it'll make any kinda sense ... but we was back in Woodbury, and we was ... we was about to end it all and go to paradise together as planned."

A pause.

"Uh-huh. ..." Jeremiah nods encouragingly. In the mirror, he can see Stephen trying to ignore his wounds and listen. "Go on, Reese. It's okay."

The young man shrugs. "Well ... it was one of them dreams you have once in a while, you know ... so vivid, it's like you can reach out and touch it? We was in that racetrack arena — it was just like it was last night, matter of fact — and we was all set to perform the ritual." He looks down and swallows hard, either from the pain or the reverence for such a glorious moment, or maybe both.

"Me and Anthony, we was bringing in the sacred drinks, comin' down one of them passageways toward the infield, and we could see the arc light at the end of the tunnel, and we could hear your voice getting louder and louder, saying something about how these offerings represent the flesh and blood of your only son, sacrificed so that we may live in eternal peace ... and then ... and then ... we get to the arena, and you're standing there at the podium, and all our brothers and sisters are lined up in front of you, in front of the bleachers, fixin' to drink the sacred drink that's gonna send all of us to Glory."

He pauses for a moment to get himself back from the edge, his eyes glittering with horror and anguish. He takes another deep breath.

Jeremiah watches him closely in the rearview. "Go on, son."

"So, this here's the point where it gets a little dicey." He sniffs and winces at a sharp pang in his side. Amidst the chaos of Woodbury's ruination, the Escalade had overturned, and the men were banged up pretty severely. Several vertebrae in Reese's spine had dislocated. Now he stuffs the pain down his throat. "One by one, they start takin' sips of whatever was in them Dixie cups —"

"My guess?" Jeremiah interrupts, his tone turning bitter and rueful. "That old hillbilly Bob, he replaced the liquid with water. I'm sure he's pushing up daisies himself by now, though. Or maybe he's turned, along with the rest of them people. Including that Jezebel of a liar, Lilly Caul." Jeremiah snorts. "I know it ain't exactly a Christian thing to say, but them people got what they deserved. Busybodies ... cowards. Heathens, all of them. I say good riddance to bad rubbish."

Another beat of tense silence stretches, and then Reese continues in his feeble monotone: "Anyway ... what happened then, in the dream ... I can hardly ... it's so terrible I can hardly describe it."

"Then don't," Stephen chimes in from the shadows across the seat, the wind flagging his long hair. In the darkness, his narrow, ferretlike features, smudged with caked-on blood and gore, make him look practically Dickensian, like a chimney sweep left in a chimney too long.

Jeremiah lets out a sigh. "Let the young man speak, Stephen."

"I know it's just a dream, but it was so real," Reese insists. "All our people, most of them gone now, they each took a sip, and I saw their faces darken like shades had come down over windows. Their eyes shut. Their heads bowed. And then ... and then ..." He can barely bring himself to say it. "They each ... turned." He fights his tears. "One by one, all them good folks I grew up with ... Wade, Colby, Emma, Brother Joseph, little Mary Jean ... their eyes popped open and they wasn't human no more ... they were walkers. I saw their eyes in the dream ... white, milky, shiny ... like fish eyes. I tried to scream and run but then I saw ... I saw ..."

He abruptly goes silent again. Jeremiah shoots another glance at the mirror. It's too dark in the backseat area to see the expression on the kid's face. Jeremiah glances over his shoulder. "You okay?"

A jittery little nod. "Yessir."

Jeremiah turns back to the road ahead. "Go on. You can tell us what you saw."

"I don't think I want to go there."

Jeremiah sighs. "Son, sometimes the worse things just shrivel up when you talk 'em out."

"I don't think so."

"Stop acting like a baby —"

"Reverend —"

"JUST TELL US WHAT YOU SAW IN THE GODDAMN DREAM!!" Jeremiah flinches at a stabbing pain in his chest touched off by the force of his outburst. He licks his lips and breathes deeply for a moment.

In the back, Reese Lee Hawthorne trembles, wiping his mouth nervously. He exchanges a glance with Stephen, who looks down and says nothing. Reese looks at the back of the preacher's head. "I'm sorry, Rev, I'm sorry." He swallows a gulp of air. "What I saw was, I saw you ... in the dream I saw you."

"You saw me?"

"Yessir."

"And ...?"

"You was different."

"Different — you mean turned?"

"No sir, not turned ... you was just ... different."

Jeremiah chews the inside of his cheek, thinking it over as he drives. "How so, Reese?"

"It's kinda hard to describe but you wasn't human anymore, your face ... it had changed ... it had turned into ... I don't even know how to say it."

"Just spit it out, son."

"I don't —"

"It was a gall-darned dream, Reese. I ain't gonna hold it against you."

After a long pause, Reese says, "You was a goat."

Jeremiah goes still. Stephen Pembry sits up, his eyes shifting. Jeremiah lets out a little puff of air that's part chuckle, part incredulous grunt, but he can't form any kind of response.

"Or you was a goat-man," Reese goes on. "Something like that. Reverend, it was just some crazy fever dream that don't mean nothin'!"

Jeremiah takes another look at the reflection of the backseat in the rearview, his gaze latching on to Reese's shadow-draped face.

Reese gives a very uncomfortable shrug. "Looking back on it, I don't even think it was you. ... I guess it was the devil. ... It sure as shit wasn't human. ... It was the devil in my dream. Half man, half goat ... with them big curved horns, yellow eyes ... and when I laid my own eyes on him in the dream, I realized ..."

He stops himself.

Jeremiah looks at the mirror. "You realized what?"

Very softly now: "I realized that Satan was running things now." His raspy voice, raked with the fear, is so low as to be barely a whisper. "And we was in hell." He shudders slightly. "I realized this is the afterlife we're in now." He closes his eyes. "This is hell, and nobody even noticed the changeover."

On the other side of the backseat, Stephen Pembry braces himself, waiting for the inevitable explosion from the man behind the wheel, but all he hears is a series of low, breathy sounds coming from the front seat. At first, Stephen thinks the preacher is hyperventilating, maybe going into some kind of cardiac arrest or seizure. Chills stream down Stephen's arms and legs, the cold terror constricting his throat, when he realizes with great dismay that the huffing, wheezy noises are the beginnings of laughter.

Jeremiah is laughing.

All at once, the preacher tosses his head back and lets out a chortle — a full-bodied guffaw that takes both young men completely aback — and the laughter builds. The preacher shakes his head in hilarity, slams his hands down on the steering wheel, hoots and cackles and snorts with great, lusty abandon — as if he'd just heard the funniest joke imaginable. He's just begun to double over with uncontrolled hysterics when he hears a noise and looks up.

The two men in back cry out as the Escalade's headlights illuminate a battalion of tattered figures shuffling directly into their path.

Jeremiah tries to swerve out of the way, but he's going too fast and there are far too many of the dead.

* * *

Anybody who has struck a walker with a moving vehicle will tell you the worst part is the sound. While it's undeniable that witnessing such a horrible sight is no easy thing, and the stench that engulfs one's conveyance is unbearable, it's the noise that lives in the memory — a series of greasy crunching sounds that brings to mind the thunk of an axe through cords of rotting, termite-infested wood. The horrible symphony continues as the dead are ground to paste beneath the moving chassis and wheels — a quick series of dull pops and cracks as mortified organs and bladders are squashed, bones turned to kindling and skulls burst open and flattened — mercifully bringing an end to the torturous journey of each monster.

This hellish noise is the first thing that registers with the two young men in the backseat of that battered, late-model Cadillac Escalade.

Both Stephen Pembry and Reese Lee Hawthorne let out great yawps of shock and revulsion, holding on to the seat-backs with viselike grips as the SUV bucks, shudders, and fishtails across the slimy detritus. Most of the unsuspecting cadavers go down like dominoes, pulverized by the three tons of careening Detroit metal. Some of the excess flesh and hurling appendages tumble across the hood, leaving ghastly leech-trails of rancid blood and fluids on the windshield. Some of the body parts go pinwheeling into the air, arcing across the night sky.

The preacher remains silent and hunched, his jaw set, his eyes fixed on the road. His muscle-bound arms wrestle with the jiggering steering wheel as the massive vehicle goes into a skid. The engine revs and keens as it reacts to the loss of traction, the squeal of the huge steel-belted radials adding to the din. Jeremiah is yanking the wheel back the other way, turning into the skid as best he can in order to avoid spinning out of control, when he notices that something has gotten lodged in the gaping hole in his side window.

The disembodied head of a walker, only inches away from his left ear, its rictus of teeth chattering softly, has gotten caught on the jagged maw of broken glass, and now the thing ratchets and gnashes its blackened incisors at the preacher, fixing its silver diode eyes on him. The sight of it is so grisly, so awful, and yet so surreal — the creaking jaws snapping at him with the hollow, autonomic force of a ventriloquist's dummy — that Jeremiah lets out another involuntary chortle, this one akin to a laugh, but darker, angrier, edgier, tinged with insanity.

He jerks away from the window, registering over the space of a single instant the fact that the reanimated cranium was torn from its upper body upon impact with the SUV, and now, still intact, continues to go about its business of seeking live flesh, forever seeking, forever masticating, swallowing, and consuming, and never finding nourishment.

"LOOK OUT!!"

The scream comes from the flickering darkness of the rear seats, and in all the excitement, Jeremiah can't identify the source — whether it's Stephen or Reese — but the issue is moot, because the preacher essentially mistakes the meaning of the cry. In the split second during which his hand shoots out and fishes through the contents of the passenger seat — rifling through the maps, candy wrappers, rope, and tools, frantically searching for the 9-millimeter Glock — he assumes that the warning cry is an admonishment to look out for the snapping jaws of the amputated head. He finally gets his hand around the grip of the Glock and wastes no time swinging it up in one fluid motion toward the window and squeezing off a single point-blank blast into the brow ridge of the grotesque face skewered there. The head comes apart in a blossom of pink mist, splitting melonlike and sending splatter into Jeremiah's hair before being launched into the wind. The vacuum left behind in the broken window throbs noisily.

Less than ten seconds have transpired since the initial impact, but now Jeremiah sees the true reason that one of the men in back has howled such a warning. It has nothing to do with the reanimated head. What they're screaming about back there — the thing Jeremiah is supposed to look out for — is now looming on the opposite side of the highway, coming up quick on their right, closing in as they continue to skid out of control on the spoor of dead things.

Jeremiah feels gravity shift as he swerves in order to avoid the mangled wreckage of a VW Bug, scuds across the gravel shoulder, then plunges down a steep embankment into the dark unknown of a wooded grove. Pine boughs and foliage scrape and slap at the windshield as the vehicle bangs and clamors down the rocky slope. The voices in the back rise into frenzied ululations.

Jeremiah feels the land level out, and he manages to keep control of the vehicle long enough to find purchase in the mud. He slams down the accelerator and the Escalade lurches forward under its own power.

The massive grille and gigantic tires grind through the thickets, cobbling over deadfalls, mowing down wild undergrowth and tearing through scrub as though it were smoke. For seemingly endless minutes, the bumpy ride threatens to compress Jeremiah's spine and rupture his spleen. In the blurry image of the rearview, he gets a brief glimpse of the two injured young men holding on to the seat-backs for fear of bouncing out of the vehicle. The front end hits a log, and the impact nearly cracks Jeremiah's back molars.

For another minute or so, they career willy-nilly through the trees.

When they burst out of the brush in an explosion of dirt, leaves, and particulate, Jeremiah sees that they've inadvertently come upon another unidentified two-lane road. He slams on the brakes, causing the men in back to head-butt the seat-backs.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead by Jay Bonansinga. Copyright © 2015 Robert Kirkman, LLC.. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.

Meet the Author

ROBERT KIRKMAN is the creator of many popular comic books, including Walking Dead, Invincible, and Super Dinosaur. In addition to being a partner at Image Comics, Kirkman is an executive producer and writer on The Walking Dead television show. In 2010, Kirkman opened Skybound, his own imprint at Image, which publishes his titles as well as other original work.

JAY BONANSINGA is a New York Times bestselling novelist whose debut novel, The Black Mariah, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.

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Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: Invasion 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great action and drama with the gang from Woodbury. The continuing saga has you hooked and turning the page to see what is going to happen next.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I highly doubt that ur name is jeff but id love to chat with u
IleahWalter More than 1 year ago
I didn't think I could be at the edge of my seat anymore with these books than I was, but this book pushed the limits again (not as far as Michonne torturing the Governor, nothing could be that far out of the limits) but this is the world of The Walking Dead so I am sure that with the next book the suspense will skyrocket once again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My names jeff
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some facts were mixed up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zombies r cool