With This Dark Earth, author John Hornor Jacobs brings readers a unique addition to the horror genre. He does a nice job of telling a whole apocalypse tale.
Spanning five years, the book begins as the world collapses and a mysterious illness kills the living and makes the dead rise. After the government strikes back, the land is contaminated, electronics no longer work, and what is left of humanity must fend for itself.
The remaining people find sanctuary in Bridge City, a community for the dwindling numbers of humans led by a giant named Knock-Out, a physician, and Gus, her fifteen-year-old son. In addition to dealing with the never-ending groups of shamblers, now the community must protect itself from an army of slavers determined to take over the city’s resources and enslave its people.
What is worse – the undead or fellow man? What is the true threat? There were bad people pre-apocalypse, and they still exist in the new order. Humanity is apt to destroy itself before the zombies pose a major threat.
Unlike some zombie stories, this one has an underlying feeling of hope amidst the blood and gore. The action sequences range from fleeing a nuclear blast and fallout to evading hordes of thousands of walking dead.
As civilization faces its final stand, a mere teenager holds the fate of mankind in his hands.