By the Blood of Heroes: The Great Undead War: Book
by Joseph Nassise
Cover Artist: Larry Rostant
Review by Harriet Klausner
Harper Voyager Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062048752
Date: 01 May 2012 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The war was already brutal with deadly gas killing both sides in the trenches. However, the inevitability of the French-British with American Expeditionary Force support winning changes when the desperate Germans introduce a new gas, T Leiche; called in the west corpse gas. This new chemical mix brings reanimated dead soldiers back to life in order to send them back into the not so quiet western front.
As the Kaiser returns the dead to the trenches and fields more Americans volunteer to fight alongside of the brave but out manned British and French armies. By late 1917, what looked like certain victory for the allies increasingly looks like certain defeat as the enemy has an endless supply of soldiers.
Still men like Captain Michael "Madman" Burke with his artificial clockwork arm joins the American Expeditionary Force as he believes he has nothing to live for since Mae died. The brass orders him to perform a rescue of his estranged half-brother, legendary American ace Major Jack Freeman; shot down and captured behind the lines of the eastern front. His small crew consists of Sergeant Moore, big-game hunter Clayton Manning, and Tesla protégé and expert on all matters supernatural Professor Dan Richards. Their mission requires them to cross territory controlled by the shamblers, undead soldiers, and whatever even more hideous and dangerous concoctions created by German scientists; but if they survive the harrowing trek by air and ground to reach the prison, they will find why the leaders sent them on this suicide mission.
The first Great Undead War historical urban fantasy is a super action-packed thriller. The storyline is incredibly fast-paced from the start and never decelerates leading to readers struggling to put down the tale of a band of heroes risking their lives to mount a rescue in enemy territory filled with the supernatural. The military gizmos are fun as they enhance the sense of a paranormal WW I tale.
The fearsome foursome each possesses different personalities and motives for undergoing the impossible mission. Burke is simply crazy as he still grieves the loss that ended his contentment, but is in spite of his insanity he is a good soldier who commands loyalty from his troops. In fact that is why Moore comes on the quest as he always has his captain's back. Manning sees the great escapade as a big safari into unknown territory as he plans to bag a few supernaturals. Finally, Richards is the curious scientist who relishes studying the undead in the field. With a nod to Lester Dent’s Doc Savage, Joseph Nassise [provides an exhilarating steampunk paranormal historical military thriller.