The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

( 264 )


Winner of the 2011 Diamond Gem Award for Trade Book of the Year

In the Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, he has his own sick sense of justice: whether it’s forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople’s amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him. The Governor was voted “Villain of the Year” by Wizard magazine the year he debuted, and his story arc...

See more details below
$12.33 price
(Save 17%)$14.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (59) from $3.19   
  • New (16) from $8.23   
  • Used (43) from $3.19   
The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$3.99 price
(Save 50%)$7.99 List Price

All Available Formats & Editions


Winner of the 2011 Diamond Gem Award for Trade Book of the Year

In the Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, he has his own sick sense of justice: whether it’s forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople’s amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him. The Governor was voted “Villain of the Year” by Wizard magazine the year he debuted, and his story arc was the most controversial in the history of the Walking Dead comic book series. Now, for the first time, fans of The Walking Dead will discover how The Governor became the man he is, and what drove him to such extremes


Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Fans of Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead comic book series now know much about the villainous misdeeds of the character known as The Governor. This powerful new novel by Kirkman and horror novelist Jay Bonansinga (The Black Mariah) describes how he became the man and monster he was. A backstory that you don't want to miss. (P.S. The third season of The Walking Dead television set cable show records for viewers. The eagerly awaited fourth season is due to begin next month.)

From the Publisher
Praise for The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor:

"Zombie-apocalypse stories are perfect for miserable winter weather regardless, but for those obsessed with The Walking Dead (such as yours truly), this is essential reading. This is the epitome of a page-turner, and makes subway rides just breeze by. And, that end –woof."


“An excellent companion to the The Walking Dead comic books. The story is enriched by the novel format, and the characterization of the series' most hated villain is something no fan will want to miss.”

“This book stands alone and is a compelling read for fans of the series or just fans of zombies. Watch out though, because once you get a taste of the particular Kirkman brand of zombie mayhem, catching up on past issues is just around the corner.”

The Ossuary

“The story makes a great novel. You'll get sucked in and can easily visualize everything that is happening. It's simply a great read.”

“It takes great advantage of the literary medium in a way that most tie-in books would not.”

“Not for the faint of heart, this book runs on pressure-cooker suspense, graphically described bloodshed, and dark acts of brutality...This riveting character study adds a new dimension to the oeuvre by fleshing out established characters and plot lines.”

School Library Journal

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250008398
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Series: Walking Dead Series , #1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 106,432
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Kirkman

Robert Kirkman is best known for his work on The Walking Dead and Invincible for Image Comics and SKYBOUND. He is one of the five partners of Image Comics and is an executive producer and writer on AMC’s critically acclaimed television series The Walking Dead.

Jay Bonansinga is a critically acclaimed horror novelist whose works include Perfect Victim, Shattered, Twisted, and Frozen. His debut novel, The Black Mariah, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker Award.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The Walking Dead

Rise of The Governor
By Robert Kirkman

St. Martin's Griffin

Copyright © 2012 Robert Kirkman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781250008398


It occurs to Brian Blake as he huddles in the musty darkness, the terror constricting his chest, the pain throbbing in his knees: If only he possessed a second pair of hands, he could cover his own ears, and maybe block out the noise of human heads being demolished. Sadly, the only hands Brian currently owns are busy right now, covering the tiny ears of a little girl in the closet next to him.
The seven-year-old keeps shuddering in his arms, jerking at the intermittent THWACK-GAHHHH-THUMP outside the closet. Then comes the silence, broken only by the sticky sound of boot steps on bloody tile, and a flurry of angry whispers out in the vestibule.
Brian starts coughing again. He can’t help it. For days he has been fighting this goddamn cold, a stubborn blight on his joints and sinuses that he cannot shake. It happens to him every fall, when the Georgia days start getting dank and gloomy. The dampness gets into his bones, saps his energy, and steals his breath. And now he feels the pounding stab of a fever with each cough.
Doubling over in another hacking, wheezing fit, he keeps his hands pressed down on little Penny’s ears as he coughs. He knows the sound of his rasping is attracting all kinds of attention outside the closet door, out in the convolutions of the house, but there’s nothing he can do about it. He sees tracings of light with each cough—like tiny filigrees of fireworks across his blind pupils.
The closet—barely four feet wide, and maybe three feet deep—is as dark as an inkwell, and it reeks of mothballs, mouse droppings, and old cedar. Plastic coat bags hang down in the darkness, brushing the sides of Brian’s face. Brian’s younger brother Philip told him it was okay to cough in the closet. In fact, Brian was free to cough his fucking head off—it would draw out the monsters—but Brian better not give his goddamn cold to Philip’s little girl. If he did, Philip would crack Brian’s head open.
The coughing fit passes.
Moments later, another pair of lumbering footsteps disturbs the silence outside the closet—another dead thing entering the kill zone. Brian squeezes his hands tighter against Penny’s ears, and the child flinches at another rendition of Skull Splitting in D minor.
If asked to describe the racket outside the closet, Brian Blake would probably revert to his days as a failed music store entrepreneur and tell you that the head-cracking sounds are like a percussive symphony they might play in hell—like some trippy outtake from Edgard Varèse or a druggy drum solo from John Bonham—with repeating verses and choruses: the heavy breathing of humans … the shambling footsteps of another moving corpse … the whistle of an axe … the thunk of steel sinking into flesh …
… and finally, the big finale, the splat of moist, dead weight on the slimy parquet.
Another break in the action sends fever chills down Brian’s spine. The silence closes in again. Eyes now adjusted to the darkness, Brian sees the first shimmer of thick arterial blood seeping under the bottom of the door. It looks like motor oil. He gently yanks his niece away from the spreading puddle, pulling her back against the boots and umbrellas along the back wall.
The hem of Penny Blake’s little denim dress touches the blood. She quickly pulls the fabric away, and frantically rubs at the stain, as if the very absorption of the blood will infect her somehow.
Another convulsive coughing fit doubles Brian over. He fights it. He swallows the broken glass of a sore throat and pulls the little girl into a full-on embrace. He doesn’t know what to do or say. He wants to help his niece. He wants to whisper something reassuring to her but cannot think of a single reassuring thing to whisper.
The girl’s father would know what to say. Philip would know. He always knows what to say. Philip Blake is the guy who says the things that everybody else wishes they had said. He says what needs to be said, and he does what needs to be done. Like right now. He’s out there with Bobby and Nick, doing what needs to be done … while Brian hunkers here in the dark like a scared rabbit, wishing he knew what to say to his niece.
Considering the fact that Brian Blake is the oldest of the two siblings, it’s odd how Brian has always been the runt. Barely five feet seven in his boot heels, Brian Blake is a raw-boned scarecrow of a man scarcely able to fill out his black peg-leg jeans and torn Weezer T-shirt. A mousey goatee, macramé bracelets, and a thatch of dark Ichabod Crane hair complete the picture of a thirty-five-year-old Bohemian waif stuck in Peter Pan limbo, now kneeling in the mothball-scented gloom.
Brian sucks in a hoarse breath and looks down at the doe-eyed Penny, her mute, horrified face ghostly in the darkness of the closet. The child has always been a quiet little girl, with an almost porcelain complexion, like that of a china doll, which has given her face a rather ethereal cast. But since her mother’s death she has turned even further inward, becoming more wan and stoic, to the point of appearing almost translucent, with tendrils of raven-black hair obscuring her huge eyes.
For the last three days, she has hardly said a word. Of course, they have been three extraordinary days—and trauma works differently on children than it does on adults—but Brian is worried that Penny is perhaps slipping into some kind of shock.
“It’s gonna be okay, kiddo,” Brian whispers to her with a lame little cough as punctuation.
She says something without looking up at him. She mumbles it, staring down at the floor, a tear pearling on her dirty cheek.
“What was that, Pen?” Brian cradles her against him and wipes her tear.
She says something again, and again, and again, but not exactly to Brian. She says it more like a mantra, or a prayer, or an incantation: “It’s never-ever going to be okay, never-ever-ever-ever-ever.”
“Sshhhhh.” He holds her head, pressing it gently against the folds of his T-shirt. He feels the damp heat of her face against his ribs. He covers her ears again as he hears the THWACK of another axe blade outside the closet, smashing through the membrane of a scalp, into the hard shell of a skull, through the layers of dura, and into the pulpy gray gelatin of an occipital lobe.
It makes a smacking noise like a baseball bat hitting a wet softball—the ejaculate of blood like a mop head slapping the floor—followed by a ghastly, wet thud. Oddly, that’s the worst part for Brian: that hollow, moist thump of a body landing on expensive ceramic tile. The tile is custom made for the house, with elaborate inlay and Aztec designs. It’s a lovely house … or at least, it once was.
Again the noises cease.
Again the horrible dripping silence follows. Brian stifles a cough, holding it in like a firecracker that’s about to pop, so he can better hear the minute changes in breathing outside the closet, the greasy footsteps shuffling through gore. But the place is dead silent now.
Brian feels the child seize up next to him—little Penny girding herself for another salvo of axe blows—but the silence stretches.
Inches away, the sound of a bolt clicking, and the closet doorknob turning, rashes Brian’s body with gooseflesh. The door swings open.
“Okay, we’re good.” The baritone voice, whiskey-cured and smoky, comes from a man peering down into the recesses of the closet. Eyes blinking at the darkness, face shimmering with sweat, flush with the exertion of zombie disposal, Philip Blake holds a grue-slick axe in his workman’s hand.
“You sure?” Brian utters.
Ignoring his brother, Philip gazes down at his daughter. “Everything’s okay, punkin, Daddy’s okay.”
“Are you sure?” Brian says with a cough.
Philip looks at his brother. “You mind covering your mouth, sport?”
Brian wheezes, “You sure it’s clear?”
“Punkin?” Philip Blake addresses his daughter tenderly, his faint Southern drawl belying the bright, feral embers of violence just now fading in his eyes. “I’m gonna need y’all to stay right there for a minute. Awright? You stay right there until Daddy says it’s okay to come out. You understand?”
With a slight nod, the pale little girl gives him a feeble gesture of understanding.
“C’mon, sport,” Philip urges his older brother out of the shadows. “Gonna need your help with the cleanup.”
Brian struggles to his feet, pushing his way through the hanging overcoats.
He emerges from the closet and blinks at the harsh light of the vestibule. He stares and coughs and stares some more. For a brief moment, it looks as though the lavish entryway of the two-story Colonial, brightly lit by fancy copper chandeliers, is in the throes of being redecorated by a work crew afflicted by palsy. Great swaths of eggplant-purple spatters stain the teal green plaster walls. Rorschach patterns of black and crimson adorn the baseboards and moldings. Then the shapes on the floor register.
Six bodies lie akimbo in bloody heaps. Ages and genders are obscured by the wet carnage, the mottled, livid skin tones, and the misshapen skulls. The largest lies in a spreading pool of bile at the foot of the great circular staircase. Another one, perhaps the lady of the house, perhaps once a convivial hostess offering peach cobbler and Southern hospitality, is now splayed across the lovely white parquet floor in a contorted mess, a stringer of wormy gray matter flagging from her breached cranium.
Brian Blake feels his gorge rising, his throat involuntarily dilating.
“Okay, gentlemen, we got our work cut out for us,” Philip is saying, addressing his two cronies, Nick and Bobby, as well as his brother, but Brian can barely hear over the sick thump of his own heartbeat.
He sees the other remains—over the last two days, Philip has started calling the ones they destroy “twice-cooked pork”—strewn along the dark, burnished baseboards at the threshold of the living room. Maybe the teenage children who once lived here, maybe visitors who suffered the Southern inhospitality of an infected bite, these bodies lie in sunbursts of arterial spray. One of them, his or her dented head lying facedown like a spilled soup pan, still pumps its scarlet fluids across the floor with the profusion of a breached fire hydrant. A couple of others still have small hatchet blades embedded in their crania, sunk down to the hilt, like the flags of explorers triumphantly stuck into once unattainable summits.
Brian’s hand flies up to his mouth, as if he might stem the tide rising up his esophagus. He feels a tapping sensation on the top of his skull, as though a moth is ticking against his scalp. He looks up.
Blood drips from the overhead chandelier, a droplet landing on Brian’s nose.
“Nick, why don’t you go grab some of them tarps we saw earlier in the—”
Brian falls to his knees, hunches forward, and roars vomit across the parquet. The steaming flood of khaki-colored bile sluices across the tiles, mingling with the spoor of the fallen dead.
Tears burn Brian’s eyes as he heaves four days of soul-sickness onto the floor.
*   *   *
Philip Blake lets out a tense sigh, the buzz of adrenaline still coursing through him. For a moment he makes no effort to go to his brother’s side, but simply stands there, setting down his bloody axe, rolling his eyes. It’s a miracle Philip doesn’t have a groove worn into the tops of his eye sockets from all the eye rolling he’s done over the years on his brother’s account. But what else is Philip supposed to do? The poor son of bitch is family, and family is family … especially in off-the-scale times such as these.
The resemblance is sure there—nothing Philip can do about that. A tall, rangy, sinewy man with the ropy muscles of a tradesman, Philip Blake shares the same dark features as his brother, the same dark almond eyes and coal-black hair of their Mexican-American mother. Mama Rose’s maiden name was Garcia, and her features had dominated the lineage over those of the boys’ father, a big, coarse alcoholic of Scots-Irish descent named Ed Blake. But Philip, three years younger than Brian, had gotten all the muscle.
He now stands over six feet tall in his faded jeans, work boots, and chambray shirt, with the Fu Manchu mustache and jailhouse tats of a biker; and he is about to move his imposing figure over to his retching brother, and maybe say something harsh, when he stops himself. He hears something he doesn’t like coming from across the vestibule.
Bobby Marsh, an old high school pal of Philip’s, stands near the base of the staircase, wiping an axe blade on his size XXL jeans. A portly thirty-two-year-old junior college dropout, his long greasy brown hair pulled back in a rattail, Bobby Marsh is not exactly obese, but definitely overweight, definitely the type of guy his Burke County High classmates would call a butterball. He now giggles with nervous, edgy, belly-shivering laughter as he watches Brian Blake vomit. The giggling is colorless and hollow—a sort of tic that Bobby cannot seem to control.
The anxious giggling had started three days ago when one of the first of the undead had lumbered out of a service bay at a gas station near the Augusta airport. Clad in blood-soaked overalls, the grease monkey shuffled out of hiding with a trail of toilet paper on his heel, and the thing had tried to make a meal out of Bobby’s fat neck before Philip had stepped in and clobbered the thing with a crowbar.
The discovery that day—that a major blow to the head does the job quite nicely—had led to more nervous chortling on Bobby’s part—definitely a defense mechanism—with a lot of anxious chatter about it being “something in the water, man, like the black-fucking-plague.” But Philip didn’t want to hear about reasons for this shit storm then, and he sure doesn’t want to hear about them now.
“Hey!” Philip addresses the heavyset man. “You still think this is funny?”
Bobby’s laughter dies.
On the other side of the room, near a window overlooking the dark expanse of a backyard, which is currently shrouded in night, a fourth figure watches uneasily. Nick Parsons, another friend from Philip’s wayward childhood, is a compact, lean thirty-something with the kind of prep-school grooming and marine-cut hair of an eternal jock. The religious one of the bunch, Nick has taken the longest to get used to the idea of destroying things that were once human. Now his khakis and sneakers are stippled with blood, and his eyes burn with trauma, as he watches Philip approach Bobby.
“Sorry, man,” Bobby mutters.
“My daughter’s in there,” Philip says, coming nose to nose with Marsh. The volatile chemicals of rage and panic and pain can instantly ignite in Philip Blake.
Bobby looks at the blood-slicked floor. “Sorry, sorry.”
“Go get the tarps, Bobby.”
Six feet away, Brian Blake, still on his hands and knees, expels the last of his stomach contents, and continues to dry-heave.
Philip goes over to his older brother, kneels by him. “Let it out.”
“I’m—uh—” Brian croaks, sniffing, trying to form a complete thought.
Philip gently lays a big, grimy, callused hand on his brother’s hunched shoulders. “It’s okay, bro … just let it all out.”
“It’s all right.”
Brian gets himself under control, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. “Y-you think you got all of them?”
“I do.”
“You sure?”
“You searched … everywhere? In the basement and stuff?”
“Yes, sir, we did. All the bedrooms … even the attic. Last one came out of hiding at the sound of that fucking cough, loud enough to wake the fucking dead. Teenage girl, tried to have one of Bobby’s chins for lunch.”
Brian gulps down a raw, painful swallow. “These people … they … lived here.”
Philip sighs. “Not anymore.”
Brian manages to look around the room, then gazes up at his brother. Brian’s face is wet with tears. “But they were like … a family.”
Philip nods, and he doesn’t say anything. He feels like giving his brother a shrug—so fucking what—but all he does is keep nodding. He’s not thinking about the zombified family he just dispatched, or the implications of all the mind-numbing butchery he’s already wreaked over the last three days—slaughtering individuals who were recently soccer moms and mailmen and gas station attendants. Yesterday, Brian had gone off on some bullshit intellectual tangent about the difference between morals and ethics in this situation: Morally, one should never kill, ever, but ethically, which is subtly different, one should maintain the policy of killing only if it’s in self-defense. But Philip doesn’t see what they’re doing as killing. You can’t kill a thing that’s already been killed. What you do is squash it like a bug, and move on, and stop thinking so much.
The fact is, right now, Philip isn’t even thinking about the next move his little ragtag group will make—which is probably going to be entirely up to him (he has become the de facto leader of this bunch, and he might as well face it). Right now, Philip Blake is focused on a single objective: Since the nightmare started less than seventy-two hours ago, and folks started turning—for reasons nobody has yet been able to figure out—all that Philip Blake has been able to think about is protecting Penny. It is why he got the hell out of his hometown, Waynesboro, two days ago.
A small farming community on the eastern edge of central Georgia, the place had gone to hell quickly when folks had started dying and coming back. But it was Penny’s safety that had ultimately convinced Philip to fly the coop. It was because of Penny he had enlisted the help of his old high school buddies; and it was because of Penny he had set out for Atlanta, where, according to the news, refugee centers were being set up. It was all because of Penny. Penny is all that Philip Blake has left. She is the only thing keeping him going—the only salve on his wounded soul.
Long before this inexplicable epidemic had broken out, the void in Philip’s heart would pang at 3 A.M on sleepless nights. That’s the exact hour he had lost his wife—hard to believe it’s been nearly four years now—on a rain-slick highway south of Athens. Sarah had been visiting a friend at the University of Georgia, and she’d been drinking, and she lost control of her car on a winding road in Wilkes County.
From the moment he had identified the body, Philip knew he would never be the same. He had no qualms about doing the right thing—taking on two jobs to keep Penny fed and clothed and cared for—but he would never be the same. Maybe that’s why all this was happening. God’s little gag. When the locusts come, and the river runs red with blood, the guy with the most to lose gets to lead the pack.
“Doesn’t matter who they were,” Philip finally says to his brother. “Or what they were.”
“Yeah … I guess you’re right.” By this point, Brian has managed to sit up, cross-legged now, taking deep wheezing breaths. He watches Bobby and Nick across the room, unrolling large canvas tarps and shaking open garbage bags. They begin rolling corpses, still dripping, into the tarps.
“Only thing that matters is we got this place cleaned out now,” Philip says. “We can stay here tonight, and if we can score some gas in the morning, we can make it to Atlanta tomorrow.”
“Doesn’t make any sense, though,” Brian mutters now, glancing from corpse to corpse.
“What are you talking about?”
“Look at them.”
“What?” Philip glances over his shoulder at the gruesome remains of the matriarch being rolled up in a tarp. “What about ’em?”
“It’s just the family.”
Brian coughs into his sleeve, then wipes his mouth. “What I’m saying is … you got the mother, the father, four teenage kids … and that’s like it.”
“Yeah, so what?”
Brian looks up at Philip. “So, how the hell does something like this happen? They all … turned together? Did one of them get bitten and bring it back inside?”
Philip thinks about it for a moment—after all, he’s still trying to figure out just exactly what is going on, too, how this madness works—but finally Philip gets tired of thinking about it and says, “C’mon, get off your lazy ass and help us.”
*   *   *
It takes them about an hour to get the place cleaned up. Penny stays in the closet for the duration of the process. Philip brings her a stuffed animal from one of the kid’s rooms, and tells her it won’t be long before she can come out. Brian mops the blood, coughing fitfully, while the other three men drag the canvas-covered corpses—two large and four smaller ones—out the back sliding doors and across the large cedar deck.
The late-September night sky above them is as clear and cold as a black ocean, a riot of stars shining down, taunting them with their impassive, cheerful twinkling. The breaths of the three men show in the darkness as they drag the bundles across dew-frosted planks. They carry pickaxes on their belts. Philip has a gun stuffed down the back of his belt. It’s an old .22 Ruger that he bought at a flea market years ago, but nobody wants to rouse the dead with the bark of gunfire right now. They can hear the telltale drone of walking dead on the wind—garbled moaning sounds, shuffling footsteps—coming from somewhere in the darkness of the neighboring yards.
It’s been an unusually nippy early autumn in Georgia, and tonight the mercury is supposed to dip into the lower forties, perhaps even the upper thirties. Or at least that’s what the local AM radio station claimed before it petered out in a gust of static. Up to this point in their journey, Philip and his crew have been monitoring TV, radio, and the Internet on Brian’s BlackBerry.
Amid the general chaos, the news reports have been assuring people that everything is just peachy-keen—your trusty government is in control of the situation—and this little bump in the road will be smoothed out in a matter of hours. Regular warnings chime in on civil defense frequencies, admonishing folks to stay indoors, and keep out of sparsely populated areas, and wash their hands frequently, and drink bottled water, and blah, blah, blah.
Of course, nobody has any answers. And maybe the most ominous sign of all is the increasing number of station failures. Thankfully, gas stations still have gas, grocery stores are still stocked, and electrical grids and stoplights and police stations and all the infrastructural paraphernalia of civilization seem to be hanging on.
But Philip worries that a loss of power will raise the stakes in unimaginable ways.
“Let’s put ’em in the Dumpsters behind the garage,” Philip says so softly he’s almost whispering, dragging two canvas bundles up to the wooden fence adjacent to the three-car garage. He wants to do this swiftly and silently. He doesn’t want to attract any zombies. No fires, no sharp noises, no gunshots if he can help it.
There’s a narrow gravel alley behind the seven-foot cedar fence, serving the rank and file of spacious garages lining the backyards. Nick drags his load over to the fence gate, a solid slab of cedar planks with a wrought-iron handle. He drops the bundle and opens the gate.
An upright corpse is waiting for him on the other side of the gate.
“LOOK OUT, Y’ALL!” Bobby Marsh cries out.
“Shut the fuck up!” Philip hisses, reaching for the pickaxe on his belt, already halfway to the gate.
Nick recoils.
The zombie lurches at him, chomping, missing his left pectoral by millimeters, the sound of yellow dentures snapping impotently like the clicking of castanets—and in the moonlight, Nick can see that it’s an elderly adult male in a tattered Izod sweater, golf slacks, and expensive cleats, the lunar gleam shining in its milky, cataract-filmed eyes: somebody’s grandfather.
Nick gets one good glimpse at the thing before stumbling backward over his own feet and falling onto his ass on the lush carpet of Kentucky bluegrass. The dead golfer lumbers through the gap and onto the lawn just as a flash of rusty steel arcs through the air.
The business end of Philip’s pickaxe lands squarely in the monster’s head, cracking the coconutlike shell of the old man’s skull, piercing the dense, fibrous membrane of the dura mater and sinking into the gelatinous parietal lobe. It makes a sound like celery snapping and sends a clot of dark brackish fluid into the air. The insectile verve on the grandfather’s face instantly dims, like a cartoon whose projection system has just jammed.
The zombie folds to the ground with the inelegant deflation of an empty laundry sack.
The pickaxe, still deeply embedded, pulls Philip forward and down. He yanks at it. The point is stuck. “Shut the motherfucking gate now, shut the gate, and do it quietly, goddamnit,” Philip says, still affecting a frenzied stage whisper, slamming his left Chippewa steel-toed logger boot down on the breached skull of the cadaver.
The other two men move as if in some synchronized dance, Bobby quickly dropping his load and rushing over to the gate. Nick struggles to his feet and backs away in a horrified stupor. Bobby quickly latches the wrought-iron lever. It makes a hollow metallic rattle that is so noisy it echoes across the dark lawns.
At last, Philip wrenches the pick from the stubborn crag of the zombie’s skull—it comes out with a soft smooch sound—and he is turning toward the remains of the family, his mind swimming with panic, when he hears something odd, something unexpected, coming from the house.
He looks up and sees the rear of the Colonial, the window glass lit brilliantly from within.
Brian is silhouetted behind the sliding glass door, tapping on the pane, motioning for Philip and the others to hurry back, right now. Urgency burns in Brian’s expression. It has nothing to do with the dead golfer—Philip can tell—something is wrong.
Oh God, please let it not have to do with Penny.
Philip drops the pickaxe and crosses the lawn in seconds flat.
“What about the stiffs?” Bobby Marsh is calling after Philip.
“Leave ’em!” Philip yells, vaulting up the deck steps and rushing to the sliding doors.
Brian is waiting with the slider ajar. “I gotta show you something, man,” he says.
“What is it? Is it Penny? Is she okay?” Philip is out of breath as he slips back into the house. Bobby and Nick are coming across the deck, and they too slip into the warmth of the Colonial.
“Penny’s fine,” Brian says. He’s holding a framed photograph. “She’s fine. Says she doesn’t mind staying in the closet a little while longer.”
“Judas Priest, Brian, what the fuck!” Philip catches his breath, his hands balled into fists.
“I gotta show you something. You want to stay here tonight?” Brian turns toward the sliding glass door. “Look. The family died together in here, right? All six of them? Six?”
Philip wipes his face. “Spit it out, man.”
“Look. Somehow they all turned together. As a family, right?” Brian coughs, then points at the six pale bundles lying near the garage. “There’s six of them out there on the grass. Look. Mom and dad and four kids.”
“So fucking what?”
Brian holds up a portrait in a frame, the family from a happier time, all smiling awkwardly, dressed in their starchy Sunday best. “I found this on the piano,” he says.
Brian points at the youngest child in the photo, a boy of eleven or twelve years old, little navy blue suit, blond bangs, stiff smile.
Brian looks at his brother and says very gravely, “There’s seven of them in the picture.”

Copyright © 2011 by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga


Excerpted from The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman Copyright © 2012 by Robert Kirkman. 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.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 264 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 265 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Walking Dead Fans Will LOVE IT!!

    I have been having withdrawals from "The Walking Dead" and was really excited when I saw this at Books-A-Million. If you are a fan of the show you should really enjoy it, and no worries, it won't ruin the next season because the characters aren't the same. The plot is similar in that you have a group of survivors trying to get to Atlanta, in this case it's a group of guys, two brothers, Phil and Brian, Phil's little girl, Penny, and a couple of their friends. Brian struggles to overcome his place in the family as the weaker of the two brothers, even though he's the eldest. They face many dangers and the changes in the dynamics of the group are very interesting. I really enjoyed how this "zombie book" is different from the typical "zombie book" just like "The Walking Dead" is different from the typical zombie movie. They focus on the survival instead of the blood and gore. But no worries, zombie fans; there's plenty of blood and guts to satisfy the biggest zombie fan! I think I would have given this book five stars if there had been more of a love interest in the book, but that's just the girl in me.

    23 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 23, 2011

    Good.....but short

    Great story, but not worth 11.99. Very short. Worth about7.99.

    7 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012


    Please never stop the walking dead take it to the grave like Stan lee with spiderman

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Mind Blowing! A Must Read for All Walking Dead Fans!

    All the Gory Detailed Imagery of the Graphic Novels & TV Show Written Out and Described in This Picture-less Novel Addition to The Walking Dead Series. If You Are a Fan of the Show or The GN's or Both.....I Would Highly Highly Recommend This Book!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

    Even if you are a not a viewer of the television series or a reader of the graphic novels it is based on, this novelization is a very good zombie story. It is action-packed, fast-moving, scary and yes, graphic (but isn't that what we liked about zombie stories).

    The story itself is about a small group of survivors after the zombie outbreak and how they try and love in this new world. One of the characters will become the Governor that is in the title and a major character in the original stories. This didn't deter from this story.

    Each chapter leaves you wanting more and therefore you don't want to stop reading. I think now I will have to check out the TV show and/or the comics!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Fhdhhjfjg Its aswome

    Its a good book read it

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Cadillac Escalade

    Ok I was not thrilled with the Escalade wreck as outlined, but was still a great story overall. Almost made The Governor one character you felt sympathy for. Well worth reading if you like the comics.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2012

    Great Book

    It had a slow start but really picked up from there. I really enjoyed this one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012


    Great book which rivals the comics and is much better than the show. Highly recommended.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 9, 2012

    A great sad story

    If you read the graphic novels you will understand this better than watching the Awesome TV show.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Read the origional comics first

    You wont know who 'the govenor' is or what his importance is

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Good not great

    I enjoyed the audiobook much more, i also found it a little predictable and uninspired

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    I am a die-hard fan of the Walking Dead tv show, and I truly wan

    I am a die-hard fan of the Walking Dead tv show, and I truly wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, the poor writing, atrocious abuse of the English language, misogyny, rape and torture porn, and grotesque obsession with obese zombies rather got in my way. Ultimately, I'll stick with the tv show and graphic novels....

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    Walking Dead fans must read!

    Excellent book....helps hold over for the next season. Beware that it is not based on same characters or storyline, but good anyway! DUE TO CONTENT--- NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 1, 2011

    Recommended if you like the living dead

    I would recommend this book. Kept me coming back to read what's going to happen next. Again, would recommend if you like zombies.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    Love this book

    I love reading the backstory on The Governor! He is the chaaracter I love to hate but I love seeing him before he turned into such a monster.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013


    This book is very well-written, with gruesome details and superb attention to detail. Amazing for any fan of The Walking Dead.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

    One two three?

    Which book is it in the series?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013


    A really good book for 11-17 y.o. warning very explicit language but you must read it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013

    Great book!!! Definteley worth the $

    I love the walking dead and this is great! It helped me understand alot more about the Governor "Philip" very exciting unexpected twist ending that somewhat starts to tie into the show but a small dissapointment when their is no Milton in the show apparently Milton knew the govenor before he became governor but i give this book four and a half stars a small problem is it gets predictable and then takes a bit to get to what you think will happen uses a little two many details not saying they need less death scene details great book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 265 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)