28 Days Later, The Hunt For The Xombie Lord of The Flies Continues...
A review of Xombies: Apocalypse Blues
(Previously published as Xombies)
A novel by Walter Greatshell
Review by Kenneth Holm
Senior Staff Writer
Okay, I will admit it. When I picked this book up, I thought it was something different. When I saw “Xombie”, I immediately thought of James Farr's online animation epic / comic book Xombie, but I was mistaken. No, this is something completely different. Oddly enough though, this was not my first time reading it... Back in 2004, Xombies: Apocalypse Blues was originally published as a book simply called Xombies. The cover featured a cool looking creature... thing and that was what drew me in. I finished the book and went about my life. Now that the sequel is somewhat close at hand, Ace has decided to re-release it to the masses to get the blood pumping for its future installments.
Xombies: Apocalypse Blues follows the story of Louise “Lulu” Pangloss. Lulu suffers from chromosomal primary amenorrhea, which can be described in layman terms as complete lack of menstruation. Although she is seventeen years old, her body seems to have arrested at around twelves years of age. She and her mother are on a hunt for the man that is supposedly Lulu's father. However, as anyone should have known, disaster strikes and a biological virus codenamed “Agent X” is released onto an unsuspecting populace. The virus turns people into cyanotic, rage-driven nightmares reminiscent of the anger beasts from 28 Days Later. It also begins its deadly life in women of a certain cycle, slowly spreading to others nearby. Oddly enough, the Xombies seem like supporting players most of the time, leaving the majority of the drama to be handled by the human survivors and the evil that man (or woman) can and will do to each other. Lulu and her mother run to find shelter and escape the blue tinged hoards, but run out of room to move quickly. Lulu is rescued by a man named Fred Cowper, who just happens to be the man who might be her father. Unfortunately, her mother is not so lucky. Lulu and Fred quickly try to make the best of a bad situation and head out of town to a place where Fred believes that salvation is imminent.
When they arrive at their destination, Lulu is beginning to think that Fred is something more than he appears. The military installation they flee to treats him with familiarity and he knows more than any average citizen should. She also notices that because she is female, she is considered to be highly suspect even in the best of times. There is a submarine which will be leaving the mainland soon, and Fred is determined that they will be on it. However, Xombies (so named because of the “X” in Agent X) have a way of making things run less than smoothly and things quickly go from bad to absolutely horrible. Along the way, the sub and her crew encounter a possibly abandoned cruise liner, a Xombie outbreak on board, a globally reaching conspiracy, and Greenland.
So after all of these seemingly disparate elements, is the book any good? Before I tell you that, let me expound on the title of my review. This book has elements of 28 Days Later, The Hunt For Red October, and The Lord Of The Flies thrown in together with elements from George A Romero's Dead films and just a pinch of satire at times. The story moves briskly without going too fast and the main characters are easy to relate to. Overall, I would recommend that you should check this book out. There is enough here to keep both genre fans and newcomers interested. Besides, how are you going to know what is going on in Xombies: Apocalypticon (Coming March 2010) if you miss this? Check this book out and lose yourself in a stellar mythology.