by Toby Venables
Published by Abaddon Books, 2011.
You know what you are getting with the Tomes Of The Dead series from Abaddon, you know there will be zombies, blood, gore, blood and more zombies. Throw in a bunch of dead Vikings and you have, Viking Dead, the latest in the series.
Atli is a boy minding his own business until he gets mixed up in a feud between two marauding groups of pirates. Bjolf and his rival Grimmsson are Vikingr, pirates, “worse than ghosts” who end up attacking Atli’s village at the same time. Bjolf and crew are pursued by the stronger (and nastier) Grimmsson but they escape to the sanctuary of Bjornheim. The only problem is half the local population of that nice quiet place are now zombies or Draugr, death walkers……who am I kidding, your not interested in the plot, your interested in the blood and gore..and blood.
What follows is a fast paced, blood soaked (see told you there was blood) attempt by Bjolf, Atli (who escaped on Bjolf’s ship) and crew to not only defeat Grimmsson and his crew but also the source of the zombie threat. The book feels like a video game (although all that pesky reading slows things down a bit) with the violence and threat escalating with each chapter, which normally ends with a boss monster, before our heroes realise there is an even bigger and nastier boss round the next corner. That’s not meant as a criticism after all anyone buying a book with Viking Dead on the cover might be disappointed to find it is actually a cultural study of viking funeral rites.
There’s plenty to enjoy here, historical details abound, thrilling chase scenes and of course the battles..and the blood…and gore. My only criticism is that the book seems rather long, just when you think the last zombie has been beaten, another comes along and another…..I love a viking zombie battle scene as much as the next horror fan but there’s no doubt they get a bit repetitive here, there’s only so many ways to lose a limb and so many limbs to lose although frankly, the author’s imagination is quite scary in its inventiveness.
Fans of zombies will love it, fans of Vikings will love it and fans of Vikings and zombies, well prepare yourself for Valhalla, for the rest of it is remains a fun, fast paced, blood soaked adventure, oh and did I mention the gore.