Abaddon Books, $9.99, 366 pages
When Viking warriors come back from the dead, they make the strongest zombies. The characters of Toby Venales’ Tomes of the Dead: Viking Dead find themselves in 976 AD, Northern Europe. Bjolf and his crew are being hunted by draugr – the undead – who have returned to feed on their kinsman after an unknown contagion infects the land. A small boy named Atli stows away on board their ship to escape his abusive father and finds a new family with the Viking brothers. He must grow up fast and he learns the art of survival from some of the best warriors in ancient times.
Fans of the horror genre and zombie fiction will love this action-packed story. It is different than most zombie stories in that it doesn’t revolve around a post-apocalyptic theme. Venales spends time on character development, and readers come to care about the burly heroes. Bjolf and the crew find temporary sanctuary in the village of Halldis, a woman who knows more than she first lets on. Yes, the Vikings invade, pillage and steal, but when they find out who is behind the infectious contagion, they make sacrifices to protect those who fear them most.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin