Posted on May 28, 2008 by Flames
Empire by David Dunwoody
Permuted Press – 2008
Readers familiar with Permuted Press‘ back catalogue know what to expect when picking up one of their books: post-apocalyptic mayhem, more often than not including zombies.
Empire does not disappoint. The novel follows a group of survivors in Jefferson Harbor, decades after the zombie apocalypse. Although this may not sound that special, Empire does differ from the standard zombie fare.
Yes, it focuses on a rag-tag group of survivors. Yes, there is a group of military men and women trying to kill the undead. Yes, there’s plenty of violence.
However, Dunwoody manages to give the regular zombie tale a few interesting twists. Not only is there an interesting gothic subplot (the highlight of the novel, in this reviewer’s humble opinion), but it also takes on a more mythic tone by introducing the Grim Reaper himself as a character. Although Death isn’t as prominent a character as I would have expected, his appearances in the novel are excellent. I don’t think anyone has truly enjoyed a zombie novel until they have read about Death, filled with righteous anger, mowing down the undead.
Unfortunately, aside from Death, most of the characters in Empire don’t really stand out. Those who tend to spend a large amount of their time near the creepy old mansion (to say more would give too much away) are certainly more intriguing, but the main group of survivors doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking. The characters work well together, but not in ways that haven’t been done before.
However, that is the only real ‘shortcoming’ (if you can even call it that) in Empire. It has a tight, action-packed plot, an interesting world, and enough unexpected changes to the standard zombie tale to please any fans of the genre. I read most of Empire in a single sitting, and wouldn’t be at all surprised if it gripped others in the exact same way.
Review by Leah Clarke