“De Bello Lemures” – by Thomas Brookside

CoverLet me start this review by stating that I’m already a fan of Thomas Brookside. I read his The Last Days of Jericho and had this to say:

To me, this book is a great example of what can be gained from independent authors and self-publishing. I purchased this book because it had one of the best concepts I’ve seen for a novel and it was executed very well.

De Bello Lemures is actually an earlier novel from Brookside and I have to say up front that it has done nothing to damage my impression of this author.

This short novel is basically a translation of an historical text written by a Lucius Artorius Castus. The text itself is a missive to the emperor about a dire threat to the Roman empire. At least, this is how it’s written – complete with annotations. However, this is a fiction work whose parallel in cinema might be mockumentary or found footage. And Brookside isn’t just giving a nod to this method of story telling. What is presented, especially through the many annotations, seems to be a carefully analysed translation of a controversial text which has become available to us through advances in science.

To the story Рor letter Рitself. Castus witnesses a curse delivered by a druid crucified by his order and then starts to encounter the risen dead in a manner which, while remaining familiar to any zombie enthusiast, is also novel due to its historical setting.  Although the letter is basically a report, the story is still well told and captured my interest right until the end.

For those who just have to know what kind of zombie trappings we’re dealing with here, I’ll leak a few. Slow shambling or limping is present, as is the need to eat non-zombies. There is ample moaning and groaning, but no “Brainzzz!”. They are pretty much unstoppable, but the trusty attacks to the head are still effective. It may not shock to know that zombie-ness can be transmitted through a bite or similar injury. So our friends should be pretty familiar – they’re just referred to by Castus as lemures¬†rather than zombies.

Brookside obviously likes to research and it shows in De Bello Lemures. The voice of Castus in the letter seems just about right (in my admittedly under-educated view). The annotations in particular make several links between the text and other suppositions about the Romans and that period of history. There’s an overall sense of authenticity to the book that could quite easily leave people thinking this was actually a rather disturbing work of non-fiction.

So in the end I’m left impressed not just by the idea, but the intelligent handling of it. If you like zombie stories, give this a go. If you don’t like zombie books, don’t write this off. Cue the applause!

Rating: 4.5/5

Price at the time of review: $2.99 US

Available: Amazon

Author site: http://thomasbrookside.blogspot.com/
GoodReads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7374756-de-bello-lemures-or-the-roman-war-against-the-zombies-of-armorica

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One Response to “De Bello Lemures” – by Thomas Brookside

  1. Pingback: The 2012 Papyrus Independent Fiction Awards | Papyrus

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