Xombies: Apocalypse Blues
Walter Greatshell
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Buy *Xombies: Apocalypse Blues* by Walter Greatshell

Xombies: Apocalypse Blues
Walter Greatshell
336 pages
September 2009
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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How I came to be lying in state, under glass, with a procession of men and boys paying their respects to my magnificently preserved body - and all of this taking place aboard an Ohio-class nuclear submarine - is the basis of the story I am about to tell. It is the only known record of these events.
Agent X is spreading throughout the human population. Women are turning into homicidal maniacs and infecting the men as well. Only a handful of people remain uninfected.

Lulu and her mother are two of those few. Because they live mostly outside modern US society and travel often from place to place, they don't even know about the plague until it is almost too late. Right now they live in a small bungalow near the house of Fred Cowper, who is supposed to be Lulu's father. Lulu doesn't know her father, but she doesn't believe that he is the elderly Mr. Cowper.

Soon Lulu and her mother discover that the nearby town is deserted, and the radio signal sends out only weird warnings about infected women. They drive around, but every place seems to be deserted. They separate to search a nearby house; when Lulu returns to her mother, she is attacked by her mother and a group of other blue-skinned maniacs. Mr. Cowper saves her. He seems to know a lot about what is going on, and he takes Lulu to a well-defended military base where the men are visibly afraid of Lulu - but a medical condition which has stunted her growth is now apparently protecting her from becoming infected.

There are also many civilian boys and men at the base. It is clear that the military has no interest in them, so Cowper leads them to a nuclear submarine. Cowper is convinced that they will have no choice but to take in the civilians. Unfortunately, he might be wrong.

Lulu is the only female in the submarine. Some of the civilian boys resent her, and the military men do not like her. Many of the men take out their frustration and fear on her. Lulu herself is only trying to survive. She starts to desperately cling to Mr. Cowper as a surrogate father, but she is intelligent and resourceful when given the opportunity.

By and large the characters in the book - mostly boys and men who have seen their families die and society collapse - are unlikeable, a situation made more understandable since most are simply trying to survive in the draconian post-apocalyptic world. Some use and abuse every means available to them so that they can become the future leaders.

Xombies: Apocalypse Blues is a fast-paced book. While some of the plot's twist and turns can be guessed just by knowing human nature, there are some surprises as well. An interesting addition to the post-apocalyptic genre.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Mervi Hamalainen, 2010

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