Tuesday, January 18, 2011

De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica

De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of ArmoricaDe Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica by Lucius Artorius Castus
purchased kindle edition from Amazon
Description from Goodreads:
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.

My take: There isn't too much I can say about this book. It is a pretty standard zombie story, but the Roman history twist is different from the usual zombie fare. I feel that it is pretty dead-on for what it is trying to do.  I think it reads like Tacitus -- which is sort of what I think the author was going for. There is little to no real character development - which is how the ancient histories are written. The frequent footnotes about historical aspects and the Latin and Greek words translated throughout keep up the ancient Roman document premise and add some fun and interesting reading.  This an extremely short book, but fun and easy to read. I liked the idea behind it, which is why I ordered it in the first place. I think it works out well.  I would happily recommend this book to anyone who likes the zombie genre and/or Roman history.

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