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De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Brookside , Lucius Artorius Castus
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A recovered Latin text tells the story of a struggle between Roman legionaries and the undead in 185 AD.

Lucius Artorius Castus leads an expedition to Gaul to defeat a rebellion against the rule of the Emperor Commodus - and gets more than he bargained for when his enemies rise from the dead to fight again. The power of the zombie horde is amplified by the Babel of Ancient Rome's religions and superstitions, and the terror the undead bring in their wake foreshadows the incipient medieval darkness already creeping into the world at the end of Rome's Antonine age. Richly annotated, this mashup of survival horror and alternate history takes the reader on a bracing journey into one of ancient Rome's dark corners.

The book is structured as a work of nonfiction, with a foreword describing the history of the Latin document and its solecistic title, a "translation" of the text itself, and extensive footnotes. It is a loving homage to the paperback nonfiction products of university presses - a classics text reimagined as a postmodern horror tale.

Special Kindle Edition Bonus: The Kindle version of this title contains an 80 page free preview of Thomas Brookside's new release THE LAST DAYS OF JERICHO.

Editorial Reviews


"...a really cool concept."

" outstanding read...the book is vivid in its details, from the minutiae of Roman country life to military strategy to symbolism drawn from Virgil and Euripides, without ever overwhelming the reader or detracting from the story." --Author Robert Williams

"Incredibly bone chilling ride..." --Author R M Putnam

"Thomas Brookside has crafted a nice addition to the zombie genre." --Author Eric Mays

From the Publisher

The Kindle version of this title has been formatted with "live link" annotations.

Product Details

  • File Size: 288 KB
  • Print Length: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Historic Classics; Revised edition (March 16, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002U829N6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #678,142 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romans and zombies, together at last. February 24, 2010
By Katey
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
(Kindle version review)

So, as both a Latin teacher and a lover of zombie novels, I must admit right off the bat two things. One: I bought this simply due to the Latin title. Two: I had expectations for it to be rather horrid due the incorrect grammar of the Latin title.

That out of the way, I was pleasantly surprised to find the book was thoughtfully written, with true horror and true research! The nonsensical title was explained right away in a forward that made a lot of my misgivings go away. L. Artorius Castus' narrative is very compelling, especially the night in the villa. I also really enjoyed the footnote feature, which ranged from explaining obscure terminology for the reader to 'commenting' on the work as if it were a real letter. Very clever and a lot of fun.

This means nothing to people who are not fellow Classicists, but I think the writing seems a bit Apuleian (must be the supernatural aspect of the story) in terms of style. This is a very good thing in this case and lends a certain "authenticity" to the work as being a translation of a Latin work.

The ending is a bit rushed, but that can be explained as the letter being incomplete. The writing style is very bare-bones at times, but that seems more a literary device to add a certain Roman-ness to the tale. Is it Dawn of the Dead levels of terror? No, but it is still a good read.

If you are a fan of Roman history and zombies, I definitely recommend this!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very clever novella with some real creepiness October 31, 2009
By Zeldock
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I heard about this clever book from someone on a discussion board. The framing as a translation of a Roman manuscript is brilliantly done -- from the "cover" to the translator's introduction to the footnotes. The way it allows your imagination to work on what happened in AD 185 before you get to the actual manuscript reminded me of the slow build-up of an H. Rider Haggard novel. The story itself lives up to the frame. It has good suspense and pacing, with real chills. Overall, the author succeeds at the difficult task of writing a horror story that is both entertaining for modern readers and believable (or not wholly unbelievable) as an ancient work. On a few occasions, the spell was briefly broken when the dialogue became too modern. But those moments are rare.

Well done! I'm interested in seeing more work from this author.

(I have one technical question that remains unanswered: In the title, what is the grammatical relation of "lemures" to "de bello"?) [Edit: A helpful comment to this review gives the text of a footnote that explains the title's wording.]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, but not too Cute December 30, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My knowledge of Roman history is principally derived from a ghastly experience I had almost twenty-five years ago in Latin 1 as a freshman in high school. I'm pretty sure there were no zombies involved, but my own lack of effort combined with the high expectations of my elderly instructor led to more misery than learning. So I am not ideally qualified to say whether this book is 'realistic' as a work of Roman history. Still, I can say that I didn't note any inconsistencies or obvious flaws that took me out of the moment. Instead, I was fairly convinced that I could have been reading an historical work, only recently discovered and translated. In this way the book was very effective. The use of extensive annotations, which I innitially feared would be a distraction, was no hindrance to reading the book at the pace of a real 'page turner' so to speak.

What I liked best was the description of the campaign itself which forms the background of the story. Suffice to say that life on the second century Roman frontier was nightmarish to begin with, never mind when the zombies arrived. It was in describing not only the actions of the Roman troops and leaders, but also their weltanschauungen that the author really created a world very different from the one we know today. Once that strange and terrible world was introduced,the action involving the zombies was described swiftly and effectively and, if the reader is willing to suspend the usual mistrust of supernatural claims, even quite plausibly. A real sense of jeapordy is created and sustained.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I would recommend it to any fan of zombie litterature or first-person Roman history. I think even well-trained academics would get a kick out of this story and the way this it is told.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Left Me Wanting More! December 13, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read through this short story quickly and was dying to know what happened next. The framing device the author used, that of a recently discovered manuscript, was outstanding and deeply appealed to the history major in me. If a "second manuscript" detailing the further adventures of Tribune Castus were "discovered", I would snatch it up instantly. If you enjoy zombies and historical narratives you will certainly enjoy this tale!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Should Not Be Overlooked...if you like the Zombies November 24, 2009
At first I was very confused. De Bello Lemures translates to Of Beautiful Lemurs, which was very, very cool. But I had no clue what lemurs had to do with the undead. I'd love to know the exact translation...
Regardless of that technicality, Thomas Brookside has crafted a nice addition to the zombie genre. It seems everywhere you turn you see zombies popping up from every corner: fast zombies, slow zombies, intelligent zombies. This genre has run near as rampant as the vampire genre, and like the vamps it ranges from truly wonderful to truly GOD AWFUL. If you've endured one in the latter category, you know what I'm referring to.
De Bello Lemures is on the up and up and is really quite brilliant. I'm not going to go into too much detail on the story, because it's right there in the title. What I am going to talk about is the detail. Details are everything, especially when you're writing historically. Thomas Brookside is an excellent writer. The thing that made "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" work was the style. Sure the concept of interjecting zombies into a Jane Austen book is gimmicky enough, but the real sell is when the author captures Austen's style so that it reads so fluidly. Thomas Brookside has done that here. The style of this book is the gimmick! It's text from 185 AD that recants the happenings of the time, with zombies interjected. The author inserts footnotes to the translation. So basically, you've got someone that's given you two distinct styles: historical translation and ancient text. It works beautifully.
That said, the ancient text part is the book's one weak point, albeit slight. The pacing, I felt, was off. It didn't stop me from speeding through it, but it did feel a bit labored in portions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Zombies transported to the Ancient Roman Empire
The author plays with zombies, an idea familiar to modern readers, but locates them in an unfamiliar setting, which he explores and explains, e.g. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Howard R. Seccombe
4.0 out of 5 stars a simple, novel, and enjoyable zombie story
This is not Shakespeare obviously, don't expect high literature.
If you want a short story about zombies in a very original context, then this is good for you. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird and cool
A bizarre -- and enjoyable -- Ancient Rome Meets Zombies plot here. The ending seemed rather abrupt, however. Still, a fun read.
Published 16 months ago by Baudelaire
5.0 out of 5 stars Best "And Zombies" Ever
This charming short story, disguised as an academic text (with many footnotes), is so much better than any other recent effort at zombie pastiches, including Austen and Lincoln. Read more
Published on May 6, 2013 by Crusty Critic
5.0 out of 5 stars The zombie story in a fresh context
Others have commented on the novella's length; I thought it was fine and told the story fully in the space it used, just be aware that more than half of the length of the "book" as... Read more
Published on September 1, 2012 by Kenneth Mcdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling...Hail Caesar
After reading this..well who could believe it was genuine...I have read many Roman favorite is Varro...they have ..lets say a Roman view of the world.. Read more
Published on April 3, 2012 by Marcus
4.0 out of 5 stars I wish it was longer...
...or had a sequel.
It's a good light read. I was surprised by the vividity of it as well as the use of lots of latin words and their meanings (in footnotes). Read more
Published on March 7, 2012 by Rad
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Zombie Tale
In the same vein as historical zombie tales by Max Brooks, a well-written, scary tale of zombies in Roman-occupied areas. Read more
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4.0 out of 5 stars Proof that zombies are not played out
I bought this purely on the description. Romans and Zombies? While many people are tired of the saturation of zombies in media, this book is quite entertaining and proof that... Read more
Published on June 23, 2011 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting plot device
I think that the author did an excellent job with his plot device of making the book be a translation from a newly-discovered letter from a Roman general to his commander. Read more
Published on April 19, 2011 by SEPpietoeing Around the Maypole
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