I am excited to welcome author Joseph Nassise, author of the fabulous new World War II steampunk novel, By the Blood of Heroes.
Train them . . . Arm them . . . Then turn them loose on the zombies!
At the tail end of 1917, the Germans introduced a new type of gas to the battlefield, T-Leiche, or “corpse gas,” and changed the face of the war by resurrecting the bodies of the dead, giving the enemy an almost unlimited source of fresh troops.
When the American ace Major Jack Freeman—poster boy for the war against the Kaiser’s undead army of shamblers—is downed over enemy lines and taken captive, veteran Captain Michael “Madman” Burke is the only man brave and foolish enough to accept the mission to recover Freeman. Burke assembles a team of disparate members, from his right-hand man, Sergeant Moore, to big-game-hunter-turned-soldier Clayton Manning, who funds the mission for an opportunity to confront this most dangerous zombie game, to professor Dan Richards, one of Tesla’s top men and the resident authority on all things supernatural. With the help of a highly advanced British dirigible war machine to infiltrate enemy territory, the team faces incredible danger as it struggles to reach the prison camp and strike at the heart of the enemy.
But they are pitted against the most deadly enemy of all: Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. Having risen from the dead with his abilities enhanced but his mind on the brink of madness, Richthofen has plans for victory that give no quarter to soldiers or civilians.
My name’s Joseph Nassise and I’m celebrating the release of my new novel from HarperVoyager, By the Blood of Heroes, which is the first book in the Great Undead War series that combines an alternate World War One with steampunk and zombies.
This past weekend I spent some time as a guest of the Phoenix Comicon where 35,000 people got together to talk and celebrate their love of science fiction, fantasy and horror in comics, books, and film. While there I had the chance to participate in The Great Zombie Debate.
The focus of the debate? Zombies, of course, but specifically whether they should be fast or slow.
I shared the podium with the guys from The Department of Zombie Defense – an elite organization dedicated to the eradication of zombies and defending the human race, one bullet at a time. Commanders Hayes and Gonzales and the rest of the team were a lot of fun to hang out with and we had a good time debating which side of the divide – fast or slow – we personally came down on.
We asked the audience for their thoughts on the matter and were greeted with a plethora of answers on why zombies HAD to be one way or the other. Zombies don’t get lactic acid build-up in their muscles and therefore aren’t slowed by their own physique. Zombies brain activity is limited so therefore they can’t send the proper signals to their leg muscles to go faster. Zombies are fast when they first arise but slow down as their bodies decay over time. You name it, our audience had an answer for it!
Since I was the “military historian” on the panel, I was asked to give my thoughts on the entire issue as they pertained to my novel and I thought I’d share them with you as well.
By the Blood of Heroes has been described by Harper Voyager as “an alternate history zombie novel set during World War I that blends the take-no-prisoners heroic grit of Inglorious Basterds with the irreverent inventiveness of Dawn of the Dead…” Its main focus is a dangerous mission behind enemy lines to rescue a downed Allied pilot who has information crucial to the war effort. It combines horror, steampunk and gold ole fashioned action to create what reviewers are saying takes alternate history to “brilliant new heights” (Library Journal.)
The zombies in my work fall into two categories – Shamblers and Revenants.
Shamblers are your classic Romero-style zombies – slow, dim-witted, with very limited dexterity. The Germans fit them with control collars and use them as shock troops against the Allied lines, hoping their sheer numbers will pave the way for the living German soldiers to break through.
Every now and then, however, a newly arisen corpse will come back as a revenant instead of a shambler. A revenant comes back with increased intelligence, increased dexterity, and increased speed. It is also self-aware, retaining all of its former memories and experiences. In By the Blood of Heroes, the villain, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, comes back as a revenant and his quest for glory causes all kinds of problems for our unlikely heroes. Revenants, obvious, fall into the class of fast zombies.
Since I have both fast and slow zombies in my novel, I’m afraid I wasn’t much help in deciding once and for all which class of zombies were better. We did, however, have a lot of fun discussing the issue!
For a look at zombies (fast and slow!), steampunk, and an alternate World War One, why not give By the Blood of Heroes a try?
Meet Joseph Nassise!
I’m the author of more than a dozen novels, including the internationally bestselling TEMPLAR CHRONICLES series, the JEREMIAH HUNT trilogy, and the forthcoming GREAT UNDEAD WAR series. I’ve written several books in the popular Rogue Angel action-adventure series.
My work has been nominated for both the Bram Stoker Award and the International Horror Guild Award, been praised by such literary masters as Clive Barker and Peter Straub, and been translated into half a dozen languages to date. I have written for both the comic and role-playing game industries and also served two terms as president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror and dark fantasy writers.
Want to purchase Joseph’s novels?
- Heretic at Amazon | Book Depository
- A Scream of Angels at Amazon
- A Tear in the Sky at Amazon
- The Templar Chronicles at Amazon
- This Cleansing Fire at Amazon
Jeremiah Hunt Chronicles
- Eyes to See at Amazon | Book Depository
- King of the Dead at Amazon | Book Depository (November 27, 2012)
Great Undead War