Eric Riordan was once a wealthy man leading a comfortable, easy life. Until one day Gabriel, his oldest friend, Marine Corps veteran, and a former mercenary, told him how the world was going to end.
He did his best to prepare. He thought he was ready for anything.
He was wrong.
As the dead rise up to devour the living, one man finds himself struggling to survive in the ruins of a shattered world. Alone, isolated, and facing starvation, his only chance is to flee to the Appalachians and join forces with Gabriel. But the journey will not be easy, and along the way his humanity, his will to live, and his very soul will be tested.
This is the beginning. This is his story.
©2011 James N Cook (P)2013 James N Cook
The book is very well written. The characters, dialogue, behaviors, and other elements are believeable not remarkable. The character is a everyday joe who befriends a survivalist type character (pre-apocalypse). The outbreak occurs creating Romero type Zombies. The main character begins his journey to meet up with his survivalist friend. The real journey is the discovery and growth the character endures while meeting other good and bad survivalist. When I first started to listen to the book I immediately thought that this was a "guy" book due to the long drawn out references toward guns, fighting, and other "manly" type interests. As the book went on I found myself engulfed in all the characters and thought to myself how well written this story really was. It became hard to put down. Just wish there were a little more action involving Zombies.
Narration was good but the female voices were a bit comical.
Starting second book now!
Movie loving Brit living Down Under. Anything 'end of the world' themed usually gets my attention, but The Stand has yet to be beat.
A pretty standard tale but though the story's kind of old hat to someone who likes zombie fiction, the characters are well fleshed out despite being mostly well-worn and typical.
Surprisingly, there are a couple of pretty emotional moments, especially towards the end of the story, as the author makes a point of dwelling on cause and effect. He makes a decent stab of putting some real pathos in to proceedings and, more often than not, does a good job of it. In that way, this is a cut well above the average.
Biggest obstacle I have is the narrator who does take some getting used to. Male voices are either slow, deep and gravelly or fast, a bit squeaky and bland. Aside from stereotypes like the duuuude surfer voice, that's about as varied as things get. Female voices aren't that great either. But you get used to it well enough and once you do it rarely intrudes.
All in all, you could do a lot worse than give this a spin. I'm off to grab book 2 anyway, which gives you some idea of how much I enjoyed book 1.
I am not a writer- so I give credit to cook for having the stamina to churn this series out. But the story telling is uneven- okay I am being kind- that is like saying the Grand Canyon is uneven but- if you are a gun nut you will love it- but for me after the 20th description of the protagonist's armament (guns guns guns grenades grenade grenades zombies zombies zombies) it starts to wear... I mean water faucet dripping at 2 in the morning kind of wear.
As for the set up and plot: There are WAY to many coinkydinks in this book. Look most good books have a few things in them that we KNOW cannot happen (okay Zombie books start with a silly premise that can never happen- as an example). But when we layer on these coincidences it makes suspension of disbelief (a key ingredient for a good work of fiction) very hard. Like this guy happens to befriend a Special Forces guy, who not only provides him with guns and survivalist training but also HAPPENS to be in on the "secret work" that will release the Zombie virus.
And the protagonist happens to have a kabillion dollars he inherited from a dead grandmother so he can build a survival compound in the mountains... well you get the picture- just to unbelievable. It has the non salutary affect of making you care less about any of the characters since it is obvious that they are not real. And I mean other than being hungry, scared and wanting sex (and occasionally being really really exhausted) they have no human emotions. Maybe the book is about the fact that in this world everyone is a zombie even those unaffected.
Having said that I made it through the first book, somewhat satisfied- sort of like when you eat and entire plate of chocolate brownies- they taste good, but are not really satisfying and after awhile you start to fill sick. Like a dummy, who cannot stop, I bought the second book in the series but half way through I said "why am I doing this to myself" and proceeded to delete the book.
And just to pile on- one card board character after another- all of them are simply pawns, queens and rooks on a chessboard for some purpose- perhaps to just write about guys shooting guns to kill zombies. That pretty much is the plot- oh I forgot the main plot twist- the he- men with guns get to rescue helpless but sexy and beautiful women from killer zombies.
Two stars for the author knowing his way around the gun shop.
Great book to pass the time for a long drive. Interesting story line. Good development of the main characters.
Great narrator minus the fact that all the women in the story had a valley girl voice. It could get a little annoying.
Avid Zombie fan who's starting to listen to more and more Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories. So, my description is apt to change. Dog lover who's known to have cats. LOL C# coder, part-time prepper, B movie fan, AMC watcher, recovering but successful day trader, perpetual student, overjoyed uncle, former adrenaline junkie with a flare for cooking, and lots more. LOL
one of the better zombie stories i've listened to lately. eric comes into money the old-fashioned way- he inherited it. however, how he comes to be a millionaire is well thought out by the author. along with money, eric inherits some property. he sells his grandmother's cabin in the mountains to a guy named gabe. over time, they become good friends and one night eric finally asks gabe how he got the money to buy eric's cabin. hestitantly, gabe tells eric about his mysterious past and the preparations he's making for an uncertain future.
while there are some aspects of survivalism in the first part of the story, the author does not bog you down with too many details.
the 1st 1/3 of the story details eric's background, how he came into money, his relationship with gabe, and the initial outbreak in atlanta. i enjoyed this part b/c the author slowed down and described the initial outbreak via newscasts ric was watching. plus, gabe's background is interesting.
as the outbreak begins, eric is alone. he lives somewhere ooutside of charlotte, nc while gabe is living in the cabin in the mountains. before the phone lines go down, gabe tells eric to hole up in his bunker and head to the cabin once things get a little less crazy.
the last 2/3 of the story is eric's journey to the cabin. on his way there eric faces a moral dilemma. he meets up with another group of survivors and decides to help them. in doing so, he makes new friends and frenemies. the author does a good job of adding depth to these other characters. eric comes to be good friends with some of the survivors and ends up staying with them longer than he planned.
towards the end of the book, you learn more about the state of things in the u.s. and around the world. although most of the zombie gore is in the beginning, this is a good end of the world survival story.
the writing is strong, and there's believable introspection by the different characters.
however, there are some weaknesses. aside from the opening, there's not a lot of zombie gore and carnage. i really like z-bboks that have a sense of dread. i never feared for characters in this book. there was no sense of impending doom, no shambling zombie hoard. guess tufo spoiled me in those regards.
my biggest caveat was the narrator. whlle his guy voices were ok, his girl voices were just aweful. so bad that i wondered if some of them had an adam's apple. LOL
overall, i enjoyed the story. i listen to a lot of zombie books, and the difference between the middle tier z-books are mostly the characters. i've listened to z-books with all kinds of characters- average joes, moms, military types, etc.. i think this is the 1st i've listened to where the main protagonist is a 1%er. so, yeah, i liked it!
This series so far has done a great job by not "jumping the shark" they keep the focus on the main characters and the daily struggle to survive. They keep it interesting without putting so much of the filler that I've noticed a lot of the novels today are doing. Surviving the dead is what I would consider a great example of a survivor horror story. The zombies are there in ample but they don't saturate the plot, which many books tend to do. If you're a fan of undead apocalypse style stories I highly recommend these books, they are well written and the author has certainly done his technical research.... Enjoy.
I'd compare this with the first book by the late Z.A Recht.
He was a good narrator, and doesn't overdo it I like it.
it's too long of a book to listen to all at once but its certainly interesting enough that I didn't just put it in when I wanted some white noise while I did something else. You do want to pay attention and enjoy the story.
This writer does a good job with his material, "shows more than tells". The characters are well developed, likeable and the banter and dialog is nicely done. I have found that as with most 'end of the world as we know it' works the first half of the book is exciting and moves well, then as the situation becomes static, i.e. we are surrounded by zombies, the day to day living becomes boring, as most life is. Anyway this book does suffer a bit from this, although not as much as others. The lead character and how he was led into the prepper world is well done, the crisis of the re-animation outbreak is well done then as we move into the last part of the book the author looses a bit of the momentum he was able to build and when the ending comes you are fine with the book being over. That said it is a good read if you are into zombie stories it is in the upper end of that class.
Recommended if you like the genre.
Im not completely opposed to zombie stories but the gore and mutilation can be a little much for me sometimes. This book offers a good story of survival with good, intriguing characters and a solid plot without an overwhelming "yuck factor". I could'nt stop listening I just had to find out what would happen next.
Its a great beginning to the series and I look forward to reading more, Ive already downloaded the second. If your sensitive to the hardcore zombie terror of some novels you may like this one for its modest approach to the subject.
this is the kind of zombie apocalypse story i've been looking for! great character development, great storytelling, great narrator. no ghosts, no vampires, no people making dumb, impossible to believe mistakes. all around great!
Gabe! he really brings the character to life.
Highly recommended to anyone who likes post apocalyptic/zombie stories.
Fast paced, lots of action.
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