Billy Fletcher learned to farm the family's tobacco fields - and beat slaves - by the hands of his father. Now, his father is dead, the slaves have long since been freed, and the once-lush fields are dying. Salvation by the name of Abraham knocks on the farmhouse door, bringing wild ideas. He can help Billy Save the plantation and return the fields to their former glory... by raising his father's slaves from the dead.
Can the resurrected slaves breathe life back into the Fletcher farm? Having brought the slaves back from graves that his father sent them, can Billy be the kind master his father wasn't? Is keeping the farm worth denying the men the freedom they earned with death?
Billy's conscience holds the key to those mysteries, but not the biggest one: what does Abraham really want from the former slave owner's son?
Welcome to The Fields.
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It's a great (although not your typical) zombie story (think kind of The Serpent and the Rainbow meets a Gone with The Wind with attitude) that takes place in the post Civil War south. The well meaning son of a deceased slave driving tobacco plantation owner, Billy Fletcher, is having trouble sleeping. Nightmares filled with horrible rotted monsters walking through his tobacco fields by moonlight. Visions of gnarled, reaching fingers, and cold chomping teeth fill his nights.
It's no wonder he's losing sleep. The stress of maintaining the farms huge crop has fallen on his shoulders. His father, one of the most successful farmers in three counties (who was full of dark secrets that now Billy must keep) haunts Billy’s thoughts (in more ways than one) day and night. Not only is he the moral and character opposite of his murderous, furious, racist father, but the Civil War has ended, and abolition has robbed him of the help he needs to care for the starving, choking crop growing in the weedy, rock filled fields. Billy may not survive the long, cold winter if his tobacco plants keep dying and he ends the harvest with not enough crops to sell.
Enter Abraham, a pillar of a man with a stove-pipe hat that looks strangely similar to... well... the sworn enemy of former Confederates everywhere, the recently assassinated 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. This Abraham knocks on Billy's door, and whispers temptation into his longing ears. Billy doesn't trust Abraham from the start, maybe because he looks like the Union Army's former commander and chief, or maybe it's because he NEVER takes off his hat, and seems to disappear, literally melt, into the sunrise, but with the fertile whisperings of his father’s ghost, Abrahams tempting seed WANTS to grow in Billy's mind.
The boy, a boy no longer must make a choice. Will he make a deal with the devil? Will he tap the blood of the land, and bring to the surface the sins of his departed father? Will he grow enough crop to sustain the plantation and survive the brutal winter?
A make-shift graveyard that holds savage secrets sits; the ground turned up, the dirt fresh.
In the moonlight, slumping shadows stretch across the sweet leaves of tobacco that grow from the blood stained ground in ‘THE FIELDS’!
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The Fields (Trade Paperback and eBook from The Zombie Feed Press, an imprint of Apex Publications, December 2011)
“[The Fields]…is part horror story in the classic sense – misdeeds from the past coming back to haunt the present. It’s part zombie story. It’s part adventure. And it’s part social satire in its darkest sense… The story starts with a bite and before you know it, you’ll be participating in a delicious and imaginative feast. Bon appétit!” (taken from the Introduction)
– Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Patient Zero, Zombie CSU, Rot & Ruin and Dead of Night; and co-author of Marvel Zombies Return
“The Fields is a merciless, pitchfork-to-the-face, homespun zombie adventure. Schwamberger offers up a shotgun blast of graphic undead action in this unique take on the genre.”
– Shroud Magazine
“Ty Schwamberger knocks it out of the park with his novella, The Fields. No sooner do you begin to read, than you realize that the story is much bigger than the words on the page. The setting is timeless, and the horror depicted much more than ghoul and gore. The Fields is a story you don’t want to miss, and Ty Schwamberger is an author to watch, for he just may be headed for the major leagues.”
– Deborah LeBlanc, Author of The Wolven
“An intelligent zombie morality tale, unlike anything you’ve ever read before.”
– Morpheus Tales Magazine
“If Nathaniel Hawthorne had known anything about zombies, this is the kind of story he’d have written. I’m not joking. This is some genuine old school horror. With The Fields, Ty Schwamberger has given us a crime so horrendous it’s impossible to look away. The sins of the father. A deal with the devil. It’s all here. And Schwamberger makes it look so frustratingly easy. This is one hell of a good story.”
– Joe McKinney, author of Dead City and Apocalypse of the Dead
“With The Fields, Ty Schwamberger did the near-impossible: made zombies interesting to me again. Not only interesting, but frightening, as well. Throw in more than a dash of scathing social commentary, a pace that never stops to catch its breath, and a sly bit of gallows humor, and you’ve got a winner. Kick yourself if you miss this one.”
– Gary A. Braunbeck, Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Award-winner, author of To Each Their Darkness and A Cracked and Broken Path
“Ty Schwamberger’s The Fields is an original zombie tale that will satisfy lovers of grisly fiction and well told stories. Good characters, cool twists and great writing make this a story that grabs one by the scalp early on. Anything with a Southern vein and the specters that can invoke gets my slash of approval.”
– Steven L. Shrewsbury, author of Thrall, Bad Magick and Hawg
“The walking dead, a post Civil War setting, and a sinister Lincolnesque figure add up to a fresh new take on the zombie mythos.”
– Tim Waggoner, author of Nekropolis, Broken Shadows and Darkness Wakes
“Ty Schwamberger delivers!”
– Sci-Fi Guys Book Review
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