Everyone is familiar with the tragic fate of the RMS Titanic, the British vessel that upon colliding with an iceberg on April 15th 1912 sank causing the deaths of 1502 people, an event that stands as the deadliest peacetime maritime in history. Although the new book by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon delightfully twist the facts and historical figures to inform us that while the iceberg did play a part in the sinking of the Titanic…and potentially saved the world…a far greater disaster was ravaging the decks of the ship before striking the iceberg. Zombies.
This is the first novel for Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon and the two have crafted a wonderful page-turner. I feel the greatest compliment I can give it is that it reads like a movie, not that it is in script format of course but that the prose give you a complete mental picture as you turn those pages to find out what the characters encounter next. In fact I will be shocked if it’s not soon announced the book hasn’t been optioned to be brought to the big screens.
Not to tread too far into spoiler territory but to give you the basic premise of the book, we learn of a German scientist by the name of Thedor Weiss who in his studies has come to learn of the existence of a deadly biological virus, one that renders the infected uncommunicative and brutally violent and cannibalistic within a few short hours. As listed in the book Thedor notes that the virus has three distinct stages:
“Stage One: Flu-like symptoms, headache, chills, intermittent nausea. Appears like early symptoms of the plague. The men describe a constant uncomfortable ache, and exhibit conscious self-awareness. Duration: approximately eight hours.
Stage Two: Murky, intermittent discharge begins to emanate from mouth, nose, and ears. Black, pox-type sores appear on the skin. Headaches more severe. Periodic grabbing of the ears. Mental agitation increases. The men still speak, but not always intelligibly. Both pleaded with me to kill them. Duration: approximately three hours.
Stage Three: Discharge now flowing freely from eyes. Total loss of higher functions. Ability to communicate is gone. Vocalizations consist entirely of moaning. Demonstrate unbridled aggression toward sound or any human movement. They are no longer men. Duration: Unknown. None of the subjects have yet to die of the disease.”
This virus might also hold the cure to many of the most deadly diseases known by man but before he can conduct further research Thedor learns to his horror that the virus will most assuredly be confiscated and wielded by the Germany military as a deadly weapon. Theodor decides to take the only sample of the virus, raze his laboratory and flee for America. The German military however has feared such a reaction and dispatches an accomplish agent to retrieve the virus which leads the man to confront the scientist aboard the Titanic…where he decides to see if the vial he now possesses truly contains the virus by doing a little research of his own. But first he needs to find the perfect subject to experiment on…
I know that Halloween has already come and gone but if you find yourself a fan of the history of the Titanic or a fan of a really fun zombie tale then you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Deck Z: The Titanic! It’s available from the Chronicle Books official site or at Amazon.Com!