Review of ‘Voyage of the Dead’

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On April 1, the world as most people knew it came to a violent and bloody end. A virus related to the rabies virus somehow spread worldwide in a matter of weeks and infected millions, turning them into ravenous, flesh-eating zombies. Their victims also became zombies, and the world’s cities were turned into charnel houses, with only pockets of uninfected survivors, such as Carl Stiller, hanging on for dear life against what appear to be insurmountable odds.

One small group, 107 passengers on Scott Allen’s luxury cruise ship, Sovereign Spirit, a thousand miles off the Pacific Coast and heading for Cabo San Lucas when Armageddon struck, is untouched by the virus. Under Allen’s leadership, the group must find a way to survive the epidemic and contend with the surviving government bureaucracy.

If you’re a fan of zombie apocalypse stories, you’ll love Voyage of the Dead by David P. Forsyth. Filled with action and suspense, the story switches back and forth between Carl Stiller’s efforts to survive in a besieged Los Angeles and Scott Allen’s attempt to retain control and order aboard his vessel. The author paints a chilling picture of human society in the midst of crisis, with fairly fully-fleshed characters as they deal with life-or-death situations. The premise, that a virus could spread globally in a short period of time, but somehow skip a ship at sea, is a bit light – but, probably no different than the zombie movies that fail to explain how so many people in an area become zombies while others are uninfected. In that sense, the book is more thriller than science fiction – despite a pretty good use of modern day technology and social media.

The reader is left hanging a bit at the end – but, this is supposedly the first book in a series, so perhaps the author used a semi-cliffhanger ending to entice people to read the next volume. It was still a relatively satisfying read, so I give it three stars.

Review of “Daimones” by Massimo Marino

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Strange and unexplained deaths of several species of animals go unnoticed on an earth beset with the misery that mankind visits upon himself. Dan, an employee of a high-tech firm in Switzerland, like others around him, fails to notice what is happening until he is fired from the firm in a power play.

Curious, and now with idle time to use in other pursuits, Dan begins to investigate the strange occurrences. His research is interrupted, however, when, while taking his daughter Annah to school, he observes multiple fatal accidents. Dan then discovers that people all around him are dead or dying. Can the world be coming to an end – or just the world as he knows it?

Daimones, is an interesting first novel by Massimo Marino, a scientist who writes about technology and science with authority, and who also has woven a tale that will captivate fans of apocalyptic literature. The only real weakness in this tale, for me, is Dan’s ability to make contact via Internet and Facebook, while unable to contact the local police. That some people survive what appears to be a culling of earth’s species makes perfect sense, but that technology and energy-dependent platforms would continue to work needs more explanation. There are also a few places where the language comes across as a less than perfect translation into English from some other language.

These are, however, only minor imperfections – that are easily fixed – in a gripping narrative that I highly recommend. Marino, whether or not it was his intention, has effectively captured the hubris and folly of humanity.

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