Xombies: Apocalypso by Walter Greatshell begins after the world has already been infected by Agent X – killing and resurrecting almost the entire human race. The scientist Uri Miska created the formula in a desperate effort to save mankind from an impending world-wide disaster. Former humans, resurrected as xombies, can survive virtually anything. Death holds no terror for the undead.
The story begins with the most apt quote imaginable – “Comedy is not pretty.” This observation is confirmed repeatedly throughout the novel – a story where the undead pine for their lost humanity, a blue Elvis performs onstage, and the salvation of the world just might depend on a Beatles cover band.
As the third novel in the Xombies trilogy, Apocalypso follows the exploits of the Xombies and humans alike. Lulu Pangloss guides her fellow xombies in their neverending quest to “save” the living. Meanwhile, surviving humans fight a holy war against each other. The ultimate goal of both sides is to reach Xanadu – a haven of survivors which claims to have formed a society where humans and xombies can live side by side.
The superhuman strength, invulnerability, and fearlessness of Lulu and her gang seem almost enviable. However, they continually struggle to regain the semblance of their former humanity, even as they try to ‘save’ the humans from themselves. Immortality, it seems, is not all it’s cracked up to be.
At one point they reclaim an empty town, transforming it into a weird version of a 50’s utopia modeled on Archie comics and 50’s sitcoms. The ludicrous situation of xombies attending High School provides plenty of laughs, gore, and surprisingly, pity.
From the opposite side we follow the surviving humans, who struggle against each other as well as the undead. Their own campaign to save mankind from God’s wrath mirrors the xombie’s method of salvation – with less than gentle methods.
Though Apocalypso is the third book in the series, the author does a wonderful job of integrating the backstory into the plot. Even readers new to the trilogy will be pulled along by the adventure and its characters. There’s no need to read the previous books to understand what’s happening; however, once you’ve read this book you’ll almost certainly want more.
Walter Greatshell’s novel delivers a smart, satisfying read to fans of the undead apocalypse. If you’ve read the previous novels, you shouldn’t be disappointed; and if you haven’t, this one stands on its own.
Xombies: Apocalypso [Paperback] is available from ACE.