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Plague of the Dead: The Morningstar Strain, Book 1 | [Z. A. Recht]

Plague of the Dead: The Morningstar Strain, Book 1

The end begins with a viral outbreak unlike anything mankind has ever encountered before. The infected are subject to delirium, fever, a dramatic increase in violent behavior, and a one-hundred percent mortality rate. Death. But it doesn't end there. The victims return from death to walk the earth. When a massive military operation fails to contain the plague of the living dead it escalates into a global pandemic.
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Publisher's Summary

The end begins with a viral outbreak unlike anything mankind has ever encountered before. The infected are subject to delirium, fever, a dramatic increase in violent behavior, and a one-hundred percent mortality rate. Death. But it doesn't end there. The victims return from death to walk the earth.

When a massive military operation fails to contain the plague of the living dead it escalates into a global pandemic. In one fell swoop, the necessities of life become much more basic. Gone are petty everyday concerns. Gone are the amenities of civilized life. Yet a single law of nature remains: Live, or die. Kill, or be killed. On one side of the world, a battle-hardened General surveys the remnants of his command: a young medic, a veteran photographer, a brash Private, and dozens of refugees, all are his responsibility-all thousands of miles from home. Back in the United States, an Army Colonel discovers the darker side of Morningstar virus and begins to collaborate with a well-known journalist to leak the information to the public...The Morningstar Saga has begun.

©2006 Z.A. Recht; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

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  •  
    Big Art San Ramon, CA, United States 04-23-12
    Big Art San Ramon, CA, United States 04-23-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
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    "Makes my top 10 Zombie Stories of all time!!"

    This series is great!! Definitely needs to be a movie series!! This story starts from all these different places and times that are so far apart. But by the second book you see it all coming together for a great finale in book 3 (when it comes out on audio). The narrator did such an awesome job. I think the best narrating i've heard so far. Love the military side of this zombie apocalypse, with the Suez Canal and small pacific Islands. I had fun google earthing while listening to this story. It was like I was following them the whole time. Then the goverment red taping the scientist. Story had alot of escaping, from dirty authorities from hords of zombies. And you think main characters don't die, well not in a apocalypse! Book 1 does not disappoint!!

    Big Art

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 04-28-13
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 04-28-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    158
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    Story
    "A comic book"

    The reviewer who said there was no character development was absolutely right. In fact, there were times when I felt the characters (particularly the males) were interchangeable. The characters themselves must have felt the same way because, when one drops dead, they move on with very little apparent sadness. If you want a truly fun man-vs.-supernatural caper, listen to the superb Jonathan Mayberry (Maberry?) Joe Ledger series. There the male chauvinist hero does not get in the way -- and the story itself is a ton of fun. Here, the characters are just going through the motions. We all know there are more books coming, so we don't expect (or get) any sort of conclusion. Like I said, a comic book. I finished it (largely, I think, because of the superb narrator), but won't be downloading the next in the series.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    elaine United States 03-28-12
    elaine United States 03-28-12 Member Since 2011

    I'm an avid audible book listener. I am a huge fan of supernatural books and like stuff that is scary but well written. I live in Denver Co

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a fun ride!"

    This book was very well done, a great read and what a fantastic narrator. Narration was so good in fact, I went to look up other books he's narrated! The story is compelling and the characters are so well written (and read). I moved immediately into book two when I was done.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah New York, NY, United States 03-08-11
    Sarah New York, NY, United States 03-08-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    2
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    "Slow, unrealistic, a disappointment........"

    I am a huge fan of zombie literature, but could barely make it through this audio book. The narrator makes every character sound like either a moronic surfer stereotype (the male characters) or an annoying twit (the female characters). The action sequences were slow, using false feeling military jargon spoken by unrealistic military personnel. If this is meant to be a very young adult book, then perhaps it is alright. If you are above the age of 13, then I believe that you will be sorely disappointed as I was.

    31 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura austin, TX, USA 09-06-09
    Laura austin, TX, USA 09-06-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A wasted credit...."

    I was optimistic based upon the reviews and the premise, but the writing was too simple for my taste, and I just couldn't continue the book. The story was cliche' ridden and the characters (not the zombies) were one-dimensional. For ex., I have seen the character that sacrifices himself for his brethren so often in movies/books, but it still can be originally written/portrayed with skill. This books fails to do this. For apocalyptic novels, I would recommend Stephen King's "Cell" McCarthy's "The Road", or Matheson's "I am Legend" to name a few that were so much more satisfying. thanks for letting me share my opinion

    27 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Nemec 10-04-09
    Adam Nemec 10-04-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "Telling not Showing"

    I couldn't make it through this audiobook. I enjoy tales of apocalypse as much as the next person, but Recht makes the classic hack mistake of telling us everything (how a character is feeling, what the character is like, etc.) instead of showing us through dialogue and description.

    If you want a truly superb audiobook of the same variety try Max Brooks' World War Z.

    31 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Naka VA 06-30-12
    Mike Naka VA 06-30-12 Member Since 2012

    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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "pretty good start to a series"
    Any additional comments?

    this series presents a fuller story, from the first cases of the infected and the initial responses to the spread across the globe. the story initially focuses on two groups of survivors- a group of soldiers and a group consisting other survivors. i won't reveal much about them so as to not spoil anything. i've enjoyed the different accounts of survival from the different groups.

    1st half of the book is kind of slow as the plot builds and the author develops the characters. there is a good cast of characters. they are believable. the author does a good job of rotating the characters and the action going on around them.

    i've read a few different zombie books, and this story has its own, unique zombie slant. imagine a combination of 28 days later and return of the living dead.

    i've enjoyed the series. after i finished the 1st book, i was invested enough in the story and characters to want to pick up the second book. i'm on the 3rd book, and they've been a good investment in time. The second book is better than the first and so far book 3 is as good as the second.

    i must say there is one thing that annoyed me- how stupid the world's militaries are in the beginning. i can't believe that such a strategic area wasn't better defended. that is the weakest plot point. ah-well, it reminded me of the battle of yonkers from world war z.

    if you've already read/listened to day by day armmageddon, the infection, we're alive, world war z, and zombie fallout and you're looking for another zombie series, then this one's pretty good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Morgan Seattle, WA 05-14-11
    D. Morgan Seattle, WA 05-14-11 Listener Since 2008

    UrsaMajor

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ""Sci Fi Movie channel 'quality' writing""

    In my opinion, the absolute best job of writing in the zombie horror field is "The Walking Dead" (comic series, NOT the tv show) followed probably by Max Brooks' "World War Z".
    The best thing about "The Walking Dead" is that the group of survivors usually try to make sound, logical plans and then try to put them into action, but the scope of horror is so immense that things still work out for the worst. "Plague of the Dead", on the other hand, is poorly written and has to resort to just about all the characters doing the most stupid action possible (even when they are supposed to be 'the best' in their field or at least very experienced). The author tossing in a lot of medical and military jargon does not cover the fact that he/she did very little studying of how the military works and how characters this stupid would not survive long enough to make a novel-length story. For example, when the outbreak of the virus begins in Africa, the entire continent is surrounded by the forces of the world's military might. Carrier battle groups, tanks, artillery, fighter jets, bombers, attack helicopters. A sort of 'line in the sand' is drawn at the Suez canal. Certain events lead to that being the point where the hundreds of thousands of zombies choose to try to make an escape from the continent to the rest of the planet. So, what does the 'Veteran General' do? He chooses to defend this line with only a single line of riflemen. That's it. With all that military hardware he chooses just a few soldiers with a limited amount of ammo against that many zombies then he acts shocked when they are overrun within minutes. Further this General continues to make the dumbest choices possible which continuously results in more soldiers getting killed and yet none of the surviving troops desert or frag the officer like was done in Vietnam with incompetent boobs in charge. Aside from that, the story is only mildly entertaining to about the same level of watching a Sci Fi channel movie.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teri Sullivan, IN, USA 05-25-10
    Teri Sullivan, IN, USA 05-25-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    "Good, not the best, but good."

    The story was a near perfect setting for the beginning of a zombie apocalyse. It had enough medical information to make it scary and attention grabbing (as if this could happen). It keep the action coming (though it took awhile to get through all the IMs in the first of the book) and you never really knew what was going to happen to a lot of the characters (still surprised that that character was infected and killed). The narrator was good, and he sounded like he did a good job of giving all the characters' different voices (and the accents was excellent). The only problem I thought was that some of the actions by the characters in the story did not make too much sense. Why torture the reporter for information if you had the doctor who told you all you wanted to know? If you did not see a soul alive and moving in a small town during a time of "war", why commit your whole troop to entering the town, going in blind? Why risk trained personel to go and get 3 so-called fugitives when you know the city is over-run with the infected and have a high probability of being noticed by said infected? But other than that, the book was really good and kept me so interested that I bought the next book.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica ellsworth, ME, USA 09-18-09
    Jessica ellsworth, ME, USA 09-18-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
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    "Great Zombie Read"

    I couldn't turn my mp3 off with this one. fast paced, exciting, and gripping. very well written for this genre. It's not Nobel Prize winning literature, but if i wanted that i wouldn't have chosen a zombie book! Awesome, awesome book. Well worth my credit! If you like this, definitely get the next one, Thunder and Ashes. Can't wait for the third installment.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 150 results PREVIOUS1215NEXT
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  • Keith
    Peacehaven, East Sussex, United Kingdom
    9/7/09
    Overall
    "Not very original, exciting none the less"

    How do you do an original Zombie story? I don't know and I suspect that the author of Plague Of The Dead doesn't either, as this book is as derivative as they come. It includes aspects from all the zombie films you are likely to have seen over the last 10 years and borrows from other films as well. For example the Private who does most of the truck driving in the early part of the book sounds just like Bill Paxton's character in Aliens.
    It includes the same sort of silly view of the American Army employed by so many other films - small groups of soldiers with limited ammo trying to hold out against hordes of undead. When in recent history has this ever been the American approach? Why bother with ground soldiers, when a few carefully placed napalm canisters would easily take out thousands of these undesirable civilians.

    So it is an unoriginal and very unrealistic story, but I have found myself hooked just the same. The pace is unrelenting and gets you wondering where it is going next. The narrator is very good as well. I would recommend it to anyone wanting an undemanding bit of grisly entertainment.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    Beulah, United Kingdom
    6/9/10
    Overall
    "Does what it says on the tin."

    This is essentially written as a zombie-flick on paper and having not read too many in the genre cannot compare how it matches up to other such books. All I can say is that having read the synopsis and purchased it, I was not expecting Tolstoy and in this respect I was not disappointed! It is great fun, with an easy plot, lots of action and predictable characters.

    As the first in the Morningstar Trilogy, it leaves the storyline open for the next book (Thunder and Ashes) which I would happily listen to, but have been somewhat put off by the fact the author tragically died in December '09, leaving the final installment of the series incomplete.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    Leominster, United Kingdom
    8/1/10
    Overall
    "Unoriginal, but exciting"

    As another reviewer has already mentioned, 'Plague of the Dead' is not exactly original. Put simply, if you've seen any of George Romero's zombie movies, there is nothing in Recht's novel that will surprise you.
    That said, what's here is well done. Recht creates some interesting (if cliched) characters, and describes some wonderful scenes of set-piece combat.
    This novel outlines the origins of a global pandemic, detailing how the world's military forces attempt - and fail - to contain it. Recht charts the decline of the military, focussing in particular on one American unit commanded by a General Sherman. After losing numerous people at Suez, the unit returns to the States and deserts, preferring to see to their own survival rather than trusting in the chain of command.
    Recht does a good job of highlighting their desperate search for supplies, so that rather than just unleashing an endless hail of unlimited bullets at their undead opponents, the soldiers actually have to think more tactically than this. This allows Recht to describe some genuinely tense scenes, in which the soldiers try and sneak around zombies and, when this fails, have to be rather miserly with their bullets.
    It's not all action, however. Recht spends quite some time looking at the emotional consequences of the pandemic on the survivors, whose safe and ordered world is disintegrating around them.
    I happily award this novel 4 stars - it would have been 5 had Recht just come up with some original new twist on the standard zombie tale. The narration is wonderful and, although nothing in here will surprise you, you will have quite a few happy hours listening to this audiobook. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Peteworrall
    Grimsby, UK
    12/3/12
    Overall
    "Great zombie epic"

    This book (and the second and third books in the series (Thunder and Ashes, and Survivors)) is a really great zombie epic, charting the trials and tribulations of a various survivors with interlocking story-lines. Spanning the course of about six months after case 'zero' - the first recorded human infection - this story documents how the world fell apart, and how the survivors worked toward finding a cure. Well worth a listen. It is packed with action, emotion and, of course, zombies! This has a very real feel to it, and is not like others I have listened to which felt amateur. This is clearly written by a pro.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    4/16/12
    Overall
    "Slow start but stick with it!"

    Well after the first 10 minuets it was driving me wild with the repeating of email addresses but after that it was worth the wait. As a fan of the walking dead, this runs on a similar path though with goverment agencies and the military.
    Gripping stuff and you dont want it too end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rebekah
    Wakefield, United Kingdom
    1/7/12
    Overall
    "Couldn't stop listening ! Action packed, !"

    This book kept me with earphone's on none stop, great zombie book, tense, nail biting but even funny,
    Very sad to hear that the writer died in his earlie 20's, he did a book 2 which I'm looking forward to hearing but not sure of book 3?
    I would recommend this audio release.
    "O Haa !!" As soilders say

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • james
    ambleside, United Kingdom
    11/20/11
    Overall
    "oh zombies"

    first 5 mins is proper boring but as soon as they get into it gripping cant wait till my next credit to get the next!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trevor
    london, United Kingdom
    11/12/11
    Overall
    "Disappointing and overrated"

    I bought this book based on its high rating - big mistake.

    This book was very predictable, and full of scenes which feel like they were lifted right out of a bad hollywood action movie - a man throwing down his gun to have a fist fight with his enemy (the last time I saw that was in Team America!).

    I did not find the story exciting, scary, or even that interesting. This wasn't helped by the narration which was unintentionally amusing more often than not - which kind of defeated any attempt to build tension.

    There are better zombie, and horror stories out there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • sean
    WREXHAM, United Kingdom
    9/7/11
    Overall
    "Brilliant zombie horror."

    Love this audio book. The narration is superb, the writing is superb, I highly recommend anyone who likes a horror novel should download this. The story isn't completely original but it can't be because of the genre. It's the first book in a trilogy and second book is even better. Unfortunately the author died before the third book was released, which is devastating because this guy is super talented. (although there is talk of the third book will get released). R.I.P Z.A. Recht.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kerry
    Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom
    11/20/09
    Overall
    "Excellent - highly recommend"

    A brilliant follow up to the fist part! This literally is a page turner, I find myself counting down the hours till I can listen again! If you like Zombies this book is for you! Alternatively if you like survival stories this is for you.

    Excellent!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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