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Plague of the Dead: The Morningstar Strain (Z.A. Recht's Morningstar Strain) Paperback – December 29, 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 232 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Morningstar Strain Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An awesome zombie novel." -- David Moody, author of Hater

"Hypnotically readable." -- R. Thomas Riley, author of Through the Glass Darkly

"An action-packed zombie extravaganza." -- Ryan C. Thomas, author of The Summer I Died

About the Author

Z. A. Recht lived in West Virginia, where he authored the Morningstar Strain trilogy: Plague of the Dead, Thunder and Ashes, and Survivors.
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Product Details

  • Series: Z.A. Recht's Morningstar Strain
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Permuted Press; 1 Reprint edition (December 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439176736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439176733
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
If the Z in Z.A. Recht doesn't stand for Zombie, it ought to because the man has given the world a great zombie novel in Plague of the Dead (actually, I think the Z stands for Zach, but maybe he can go about getting that changed). Usually, when I start reviewing a zombie novel or movie, I start by pointing out that this horror fan has never been a huge fan of zombies, but I'm not going to do that this time around. Thanks to the one-two punch of David Wellington and now Z.A. Recht, I now consider myself a true fan of the zombie genre. Today's new crop of post-apocalyptic horror writers have created something far more interesting than a braindead, animated corpse wandering the countryside looking for revenge on behalf of some voodoo queen.

Out of the remote regions of Africa it arose, a virus that made Ebola look like a case of the sniffles. The Morningstar Strain, as it was dubbed, doesn't just kill you (and thus itself); it reanimates your sorry ass and sends you out looking for sustenance in the form of human flesh. Yep, you can't blame any black ops government operation for the epidemic that threatens to exterminate human life on this planet this time around. This virus is completely natural - and beyond deadly. Lt. Colonel Anna Demilio of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) actually goes out of her way to warn the powers that be of the threat early on, but the bureaucracy as well as international opposition doesn't even allow for any travel restrictions to be put in place until it's far too late. By the time U.S. leaders realize the extent of the threat, carriers escaping the troubled regions have transported the virus to various places all over the world.
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Format: Paperback
The End of the World has begun. It is called Morning Star. A virus of unknown origin and is unlike anything the world has ever seen. Those who are infected are subject to favor, chills, and very violent behavior. As the virus further takes hold those who are infected become incoherent and insanely violent. Their only will in life is to destroy any human that isn't a carrier of the virus. Those who are infected will eventually die but the virus isn't done. It reanimates the carrier who then rises and walks the earth seeking warm human flesh. Destruction of the Brain is the only way to bring the carrier down for good.

Anna DeMilio of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases has studied the virus. She knows it has the power to destroy mankind, and she is trying to warn the world. She knows that if it isn't quarantined to Africa the whole world will soon be overrun. Her warnings aren't heeded in time, and after a military operation in North Africa fails to contain the virus soon the entire world finds itself in the middle of a massive pandemic that cant be stopped. All the major nations of the world start falling into chaos. The carriers are roaming the streets of all the major cities, and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. Anna with the help of a reporter and a rogue NSA agent escapes a burning Washington DC in hopes of meeting up with a rag tag military unit. She hopes to find a safe place to continue her research. She is on a mission to find a cure before all is lost. America is in chaos now and they all know that the journey ahead will be pure Hell.

I have said it time and time before, but I will say it one more time. I am a sucker for a good zombie story. I have also come to expect nothing but the best from Permuted Press releases.
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One of Recht novel's biggest merits is to bring the light back onto this old -though fascinating- Zombie theme. Looks like it is the latest trend in horror books, given the number of new publications on the subject as of late...

Anyway, I have enjoyed the "international" coverage of the theme: for once, the action is not strictly limited to the US and not solely focused on US internal affairs -as opposed to global ones. Recht's novel covers the whole world, and the author seems to have been willing to involve a fair panel of foreigners as part of the group of heroes, with characters of such diverse backgrounds as Japanese, Arabic, Black African. Good and realistic stuff, as a viral epidemics of the nature of what Recht identifies would in no way be contained to a single nation in the world.

Beyond these comments, I have been a little taken aback by a number of flaws in the novel architecture and hypothesis used in it. For one, there is no clear definition of the number of soldiers that participate to the Suez conflict. One would only hypothesize that such a threat would be dealt with dozens, if not hundreds of thousands of soldiers, from various countries and not only from the US, not by a limited-scale force as featured in Recht's book.

Also, there is a lack of overall cohesion in how the US military behaves: after the Suez debacle, it looks as if the General is simply cut loose from his own commanders. He does not try hard -as he would be supposed to do in real life- to reestablish the connection with his "back-office" supervisors to get their instructions on how to further conduct the war against the enemy. It is as if the head of the US army, back on the East Coast, had completely vanished.
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