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By the Blood of Heroes: The Great Undead War: Book I (edition 2012)

by Joseph Nassise

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Member:MyBookishWays
Title:By the Blood of Heroes: The Great Undead War: Book I
Authors:Joseph Nassise
Info:Harper Voyager (2012), Edition: Original, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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By the Blood of Heroes: The Great Undead War: Book I (Great Undead War 1) by Joseph Nassise

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You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2012/05/by-the-blood-of-heroes-the-great-undead-war...

First of all, this book was crazy fun. I’ll admit, I’m not usually a fan of WWI, WWII, or, for that manner, any war stories, but I’m a big fan of Joseph Nassise’s, and I was certainly game to give it a go. Turns out I didn’t have anything to worry about. In By the Blood of Heroes, WWI is in full swing, but the Germans have a bit of an advantage. They’ve created a “corpse gas” that turns their dead into zombies, and they’re using them on the frontlines. Able to control them using some sort of device, the prove to be an effective and demoralizing force to be reckoned with. When ace pilot Jack Freeman is shot down and captured by the Germans, his brother Camptain Michael Burke is put in charge of a group of soldiers tasked with his rescue. What follows is a rather exciting, fast paced adventure.

Set against a background of an alternate WWI, the zombies became much more terrifying, since they were being used and controlled by the Germans as killing machines. And we’re not just talking about mindless shamblers. The Germans have been…experimenting (shudder), and there are some forms of the zombies that have retained their faculties, and even their sanity (although I wouldn’t consider most of these guys sane to begin with, so that’s open to interpretation.) There are plenty of classic adventure and horror elements in this story, and the action is nearly nonstop. Also, there are lots of steampunk elements (Burke has a mechanical arm and can you say airships?), and the story is peppered with fun historical figures like the Red Baron. Plenty of zombie melee goodness, too, and the author keeps his writing tight and crisp, moving the narrative right along. There’s plenty here to love for alternate history and zombie aficionados alike, and lots of goodies that would be right up any horror fan’s alley! And don’t worry, even if Burke and his crew manage to rescue Freeman (against almost overwhelming odds), there’s plenty of evildoing to be done, and the Germans are more than up for the task. The author ends this one up wonderfully while leaving plenty of material for further novels. I’ll definitely look forward to more in the series! ( )
  MyBookishWays | May 11, 2012 |
Steampunk, alternate history WWI, fighting the Kaiser’s zombies, oh, don’t forget the Bloody Dead Baron...what’s not to like? The answer is not much in the first volume of Joseph Nassise’s The Great Undead War.

By the Blood of Heroes is the first volume and it kicks the series off to a great start. The war in the trenches has ground to a stalemate after the Germans invented the zombie gas which reanimates the fallen soldiers and turns them into barely controllable shock troops. Scientists on both sides continue to work on inventions and experiments designed to give their side a decisive edge to win the war. An American ace gets shot down behind enemy lines. This pilot holds a little known secret which could prove devastating to the Allies if discovered, so a rescue mission deep behind enemy lines must be undertaken. Working to stop the effort is the infamous Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron.

This is a very inventive and very entertaining book. Interesting characters on both sides along with dirigibles, steampunk inventions, and mad scientists all in a richly populated and detailed world. The action moves along briskly from start to finish with plenty of surprises along the way. Looking back, there are a surprising number of set pieces. From the trenches, to the battle in the air, to POW camps, to experimental research facilities, to airships and trains. The amount of detail and action crammed into this book is impressive. The only thing that felt a little rushed was the backstory between the downed pilot and the leader of the team sent to rescue him. Hopefully this can be expanded a bit more in future novels.

There is a certain amount of suspension of disbelief required and maybe a thing or two that don’t bear close examination, but all-in-all this is a very well thought-out and fun adventure. There were a number of things that could have been glossed over in the hope that the reader would just accept them, but the author went to the trouble of providing a plausible explanation for most of them. That attention to detail added to my appreciation of the story. I am looking forward to the continuation of this series. Highly recommended.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book. ( )
  tottman | May 6, 2012 |
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

I thought BY THE BLOOD OF HEROES was going to be a simple ‘killing the undead horde of zombies with very large guns’ tale but it ended up being a much larger war story with very serious implications not only for the heroes but for the world if the wrong side won. The zombies, or shamblers as they are called, are used as weapons of war by the Germans against the Allied forces during WWI. Learning about the advancements in the corpse gas technology was very creepy as it went beyond just raising the dead. The experiments (done on both the dead and living) with the corpse gas elevated the horror to a frightening new level that was all too reminiscent of the Holocaust experiments carried out by the Nazis.

One thing that I didn’t like about this book was the overly technical aspects thrown into the action scenes. While it was interesting to have a dogfight (aka: fighter jet fight) scene, I had a hard time grasping what was happening as I am not familiar with planes and military terminology.

Frustration over the technical jargon aside, the story connected well between the three character narrations as Burke goes on his mission to save Major Jack Freeman. Richthofen’s narration was especially enjoyable as I liked being let in on the antagonist’s thoughts and ideas just to see if I could understand his motives at all or if he is just plain crazy. Richthofen’s motives were definitely on the crazy side but understanding his brand of crazy helped to truly immerse me in the story from all sides. Of the three narrations, I was the least interested in Freeman’s because his story was basically static as a POW with absolutely no means of escape until Burke’s team came. I did like learning more about shamblers along with Freeman but was impatient to get to Burke’s action or Richthofen’s plotting bad guy narrations.

Overall, I enjoyed seeing an alternate history in regards to WWI with not only shambler-making-technology but steampunk elements including mechanical prosthetic arms, dirigibles, and Tesla inspired weapons and technology. BY THE BLOOD OF HEROES mixes a creepy zombie apocalypse scenario with a dash of steampunk to make an action packed story full of heroism from a bygone era.

Sexual Content:
N/A ( )
  pollywannabook | Apr 26, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062048759, Paperback)

Train them . . . Arm them . . . Then turn them loose on the zombies!

At the tail end of 1917, the Germans introduced a new type of gas to the battlefield, T-Leiche, or "corpse gas," and changed the face of the war by resurrecting the bodies of the dead, giving the enemy an almost unlimited source of fresh troops.

When the American ace Major Jack Freeman--poster boy for the war against the Kaiser's undead army of shamblers--is downed over enemy lines and taken captive, veteran Captain Michael "Madman" Burke is the only man brave and foolish enough to accept the mission to recover Freeman. Burke assembles a team of disparate members, from his right-hand man, Sergeant Moore, to big-game-hunter-turned-soldier Clayton Manning, who funds the mission for an opportunity to confront this most dangerous zombie game, to professor Dan Graves, one of Tesla's top men and the resident authority on all things supernatural. With the help of a highly advanced British dirigible war machine to infiltrate enemy territory, the team faces incredible danger as it struggles to reach the prison camp and strike at the heart of the enemy.

But they are pitted against the most deadly enemy of all: Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. Having risen from the dead with his abilities enhanced but his mind on the brink of madness, Richthofen has plans for victory that give no quarter to soldiers or civilians.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:34 -0400)

"At the tail end of 1917, the Germans introduced a new type of gas to the battlefield, T-Leiche, or "corpse gas," and changed the face of the war by resurrecting the bodies of the dead, giving the enemy an almost unlimited source of fresh troops. When the American ace Major Jack Freeman-poster boy for the war against the Kaiser's undead army of shamblers-is downed over enemy lines and taken captive, veteran Captain Michael ''Madman'' Burke is the only man brave and foolish enough to accept the mission to recover Freeman. Burke assembles a team of disparate members, from his right-hand man, Sergeant Moore, to big-game-hunter-turned-soldier Clayton Manning, who funds the mission for an opportunity to confront this most dangerous zombie game, to professor Dan Richards, one of Tesla's top men and the resident authority on all things supernatural. With the help of a highly advanced British dirigible war machine to infiltrate enemy territory, the team faces incredible danger as it struggles to reach the prison camp and strike at the heart of the enemy. But they are pitted against the most deadly enemy of all: Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. Having risen from the dead with his abilities enhanced but his mind on the brink of madness, Richthofen has plans for victory that give no quarter to soldiers or civilians" -- Cover verso.… (more)

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