Reading Walter Greatshell's Xombies: Apocalypse Blues isn't absolutely necessary before diving into its sequel, Xombies: Apocalypticon, but it is recommended
due to the complex plot. The first chapter describes the apocalypse from the point of view of a group of prisoners who witnessed it and were fortunate enough to
escape it for a while.
called Agent X turned fully half the world's population into inhuman blue-skinned killing machines. The virus seemed to spread worldwide and infected everyone
almost simultaneously. Women were the first to be affected, then they turned on the men and infected them. The
only places left unaffected initially were the ones without women, such as prisons
housing only males. Each chapter opens with an excerpt from the Maenad Project
explaining some aspect of the Xombie apocalypse and peoples' actions both during
and following it.
Most of this book's point-of-view characters are familiar as secondary
characters from the first: men and boys aboard a hijacked nuclear submarine. Some are former military officers trying to
maintain order; some are civilians. They have just fled a place a sanctuary for rich people and
are now simply trying survive.
Commander Coombs does his best to keep the civilians and military personnel working together, but food and medical supplies are dwindling. Dr. Langhorne works to manufacture a cure for the Xombies, but so far she has only managed to make them docile.
She is convinced that the man who created the Agent X virus, Dr. Miska, will have a
complete cure, so the submarine is headed to Miska's Providence laboratory.
As they near the town, Coombs sends out a party of their “tame” Xombies to find the laboratory and a group of boys to
scrounge any food. Sal DeLuca is the leader of the 40 boys considered
to be expendable and therefore sent to scavenge the town. They just hope to make
it back alive. While the two groups roam Providence, a group of the former military officers
plan leadership changes aboard the submarine.
The fast-paced plot features a submarine mutiny, boys fleeing Xombies, and
gory fight scenes (not to mention gory Xombies), laced through with dark humor
and pop-culture references. All of the characters struggle to survive as best they can, yet
even in the Xombie post-apocalypse, there remains room for things like loyalty
and human decency.