Monday, May 02, 2011

De Bello Lemures

I’m not into zombies. Occasionally, I will read such a story but I would not actively look for it. I will much more likely choose vampires, or werewolves, or even angels… I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the lack of glamour in the zombies’ condition, the unspeakable tragedy of it, the fact that I cannot see them as true characters any more than a force of nature bringing disaster would be.

However, I did not hesitate one moment when buying “De Bello Lemures – or the Roman War against the Zombies of Armorica” written by Lucius Artorius Castus and translated and edited (wink!) by Thomas Brookside. I had made up my mind to buy it even before I read the fragment available online. I was sold on by the title, by the fantastic cover (when in Rome, I have put my hand inside that mouth – la Bocca della Verità, the Mouth of Truth – and it didn’t bite my hand!) and by the idea.

From the cover:

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.

Maybe I’m not thrilled by zombies but I certainly am by ancient history and especially by the history of the Roman Empire. Therefore, a combination of the two seemed especially intriguing to me.

I was not disappointed.

Thomas Brookside’s short novel/novella reads exactly as he has intended – a commander’s first-hand account of a Roman military campaign gone awry. The abundance of editor’s annotations does not hinder, it completes, giving the whole a taste of authenticity that makes the story just as real as any recorded by, let’s say, Dio Cassius. In fact, for me, the writing style and all the details, from military techniques to country living in the Roman Gaul, made the suspension of disbelief so high that I not once thought of the zombies (the lemures) as creatures of fantasy or of the story as anything else but a recovered anc manuscript.

In short, I loved it and I highly recommend it.

“De Bello Lemures” is self-published on Amazon’s CreateSpace and Kindle.

Thomas Brookside blogs at Annotated Horror. He has two other books out that are quite tempting to me…

Here's the excerpt from “De Bello Lemures” from Google Docs:


Charles Gramlich said...

That actually sounds interesting. As long is it's not Abraham lincoln vampire hunter or some such. If you like vampires btw, don't forget Midnight in Rosary by yours truly. There are even a few werewolves, but no zombies.

BernardL said...

I'm not much on zombies either but your sample is intriguing.

Geraldine said...

I love historical novels, this sounds intriguing. I think the topic is rather fascinating!!!

I'm finally getting my Google Reader up and running, adding your blog today.

Hugs, G

the walking man said...

I never should have started War and Peace again mow I am behind and this one sounds like one I may like. GAHHH the Kindle has captured me!

Take a look at Avery DeBow and her book Resonance. That one too called for a suspension of belief but her writing style also made it easy.

How Ya been kiddo?

laughingwolf said...

will look for it, v :)

i have a different kind in my latest wee tale, twisted tuesdays #17...

wb, btw....

Anonymous said...

That's a cool take on the zombie motif!

SzélsőFa said...

geez, now that's a subgenre. i am stunned :)))
i will be back to read the excerpt, these were just my first thoughts.

see, word verification is playing with us, it's 'whichera' - as if it was 'which era' - why, the roman.
i am stunned again.

does it make me a zombie?

Vesper said...

Charles, I tried reading "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and couldn't. But this is something else entirely. I've already put "Midnight in Rosary" in my shopping cart at Amazon, but I have to decide on another book to make the 25$ for free shipping... ;-)

Bernard, it's a cool book... :-)

Geraldine, this blend of history and horror makes it for me quite fascinating.

Mark, you could probably read this while taking a short break to catch your breath from War and Peace... :-)
I don't have a Kindle (shall I say 'yet'?) but I've read the reviews and took a look at Avery's blog and, yeah, Resonance seems quite interesting. I'm very curious about the heroine. I think there's a way now to read these books on your PC.
Miss you... ;-)

LW, I'm off to read your story... :-)

Jason, yeah, pretty cool... :-)

SzélsőFa, word verification can sometimes be quite uncanny... And I couldn't tell you how many times I feel like a zombie... :-)

laughingwolf said...

thx for the comment... posted a new one yesterday ;) lol

laughingwolf said...

a book about you?

scroll down til you see it!