Friday, December 24, 2010

Plague Zone by David Wellington

I have been a fan of David Wellington's for a while now, at least his zombie series. I was very excited when I learned he had another zombie story available. I became even more excited when I learned that it was free. Mr. Wellington has written most of his books as serials, and originally published them on his website. I was not aware of this until I got a hold of Plague Zone. You may purchase any of his works as e-books or printed editions, but the ones sculpted as serial novels, remain online for free. If you enjoy what you read online, please also purchase a copy, this encourages authors to continue offering material online, and to not remove content that is now available in other formats.

Plague Zone is about 222 pages, it does not take place in the same universe as Monster Island, Monster Nation, and Monster Planet, at least as far as I could tell by the capabilities of the zombies. The story is set in the Northwestern United States, in the great state of Washington (the only state named after a President, just in case you didn't know.).

Imagine yourself to be an average research librarian, there has been talk of the Russian Flu having arrived in Canada, but there have been no cases reported in the US as of yet. You are at a library conference, and have retired to the hotel bar after giving a talk that even you found dull. Imagine that you see a stunning woman at the bar, and go to speak with her. Then imagine your conversation is interrupted by news footage from your hometown of Seattle. All thoughts of what might have happened with this vision of loveliness vanish, though the two of you head to your room anyway. You stare at the footage for hours on end, something is so familiar about the man in it. Then the footage runs a bit longer, and you see your lovely wife trying to fend off this man you know, and then him taking her life.

The first cases of the Russian Flu have hit the United States, and not just a few, but enough cases to practically wipe out all of Seattle and have it declared a Plague Zone. Other outbreaks are occurring, making it more and more difficult for our protagonist to return home to avenge his wife's death, and his son's. The closest he can get by plane is San Francisco. From there he hoofs his way north.

As with the Monster series, Wellington's descriptions are gripping. His characters ring true, flaws and all. Even the antagonists prove to be sympathetic to the audience, I'm not counting the zombies as antagonists here. Though the number of pages are short, the passage of time is felt well. You can sense his weariness during his walk, his frustration at obstacles at reaching his goal, and his desperation to find this man. The action moves along well, there were no lulls in the story telling. It was a fast paced, and engaging story. I didn't want the story to end, but it did as all stories must. I really recommend this story, can't call it a book, as it's only available online at this point. And while you are at his website, check out his vampire and werewolf series, I'm going too.

And Happy Holidays to all my readers.

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