EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Dead New World
by Ryan Hill
Zombies aren’t mindless anymore.
Before the world fell into chaos, the undead existed only in the imagination. Now, more of them walk the earth than living. Zombies move about freely, while humans entomb themselves inside concrete barricades to stay alive.
All that, while the leader of a powerful cult – known only as Reverend – becomes the next threat to the rebuilding United States. Believing zombies to be God’s latest creation, making humanity obsolete, he wants to give every man, woman, and child the chance to become one. With his combined army of humans and zombies, he may well get his wish.
Best friends Holt and Ambrose went up against the Reverend once. Holt lost a foot and a zombie bit Ambrose…though he survived the virus, only to become a human-zombie hybrid, reviled by the living and unwelcome among the dead. When the Reverend kidnaps the woman Holt loves, the race is on to save her from a fate worse than death.
“Everyone save a bullet for yourselves.” Ambrose handed Ollie his pistol, giving him two to use. I pulled my own handgun out.
Despite the presence of the Reverend, or because of it, the zombies continued their pursuit. They were almost within fifty feet of what remained of our squad, and Ambrose was the only one still shooting.
“Ollie, build us a fire,” Ambrose said over his gunshots.
Ollie dove into his backpack and pulled out a firewall. He tore the plastic tube open and removed several feet of a putty-like substance. Stretching it out with his hands, he made a circle around us. He lit a match and tossed it at the firewall, igniting it.
The putty burst into a five-foot high flame that surrounded us. Zombies hated fire. They wouldn’t come anywhere near it. The firewall slowed the dead meat down, and we unloaded the rest of our ammunition into their heads, one by one. But we didn’t even make a dent; every time we killed one of them, two more appeared in its place.
“I’m out.” Ambrose dropped his M16.
“Out.” Ollie threw the two pistols to the ground.
“Down to one,” I said.
Ambrose and Ollie looked at me, surprised.
“You said to save one for ourselves.”
My friend laughed. The firewall kept the horde at bay, but it would only last so long. It was already losing strength. Once it died out, so would we.
The zombies’ red eyes got close enough to see. I hated those red eyes. Always did.
Ambrose pulled out a flare gun and fired it into the air. A last gasp effort for help. “Somebody’s got to see it. They’ve got to.”
“Are we close enough to Fort Bragg for anyone to see it?” I glanced at Ambrose.
He shook his head. “I hope so.” His face turned pale. Not that he could be blamed for being afraid at a time like this. If shock and adrenaline didn’t currently control my body, I’d have wet myself. Actually, for all I knew, I did wet myself.
I took off my helmet and put the pistol’s barrel against my temple. “You two make a run for it. They won’t take me alive.” More than anything, I wanted them to get away. Somebody needed to survive.
“He’s right. If he wants us to go, let’s go.” Ollie appeared more than ready to jump through the firewall and make a run for it.
Ambrose refused to listen to reason. “We’re not leaving him.”
“You want to be a hero, do it on your own time.” Ollie dashed through the firewall, leaving us alone.
“Go with him,” I said. “Please.”
Ambrose shook his head. “Give it up. I’m not going anywhere without you.”
Ollie let out a blood-curdling scream.
I turned my head, trying to get a glimpse of him, but the fire blocked my line of sight. Once the pained sounds coming from his voice faded away, Ambrose and I stared at each other. We were next. The zombies stood on the other side of the dying firewall. These were some brave corpses, standing so close to the fire. They could easily step over it.
What were they waiting for?
By S. Wier
Dead New World is a cool mash-up of military action, zombie horror, and evolution. It's a fresh premise rooted in an easily visualized world where bio-engineered zombies have taken over and survivors must join military efforts to fight against them. I love the twist where the villain known as the Reverend has a connection with the walking dead that allows him to communicate and control them. And that's not all, there are certain survivors who are strong enough to fight the infection from a zombie bite and in turn become a human-zombie hybrid, survival of the fittest at its best. Overall I really enjoyed this read. The writing is tight and flows quickly. Hill keeps the story moving with exciting encounters, smart dialogue, and even a touch of romance! I'm really looking forward to the next installment of this series and highly recommend it to fans of the zombie genre!
Content: Some strong language and typical zombie-killing gore.
Guest Post by the Author
Behind the Scenes: Writing Dead New World
Dead New World had an interesting journey towards publication. I'd actually written it before my "debut" novel, The Book of Bart. After The Book of Bart was picked up by Curiosity Quills, I dusted off Dead New World and asked if they were interested. They were. And the rest is history.
That's not a very interesting journey.
Let me back up a bit.
I feel most comfortable writing fun, silly stories in the vein of Christopher Moore, like The Book of Bart is (it's a twisted buddy cop tale about a demon forced to work with an angel to find a powerful relic). I don't just want to write those kinds of tales. I want to write a little of everything. For me, writing one particular genre over and over can lead an author to become complacent, unwilling to venture outside of their bread and butter. Sadly, that's not going to help an author expand their skills. In my opinion, you need to write all sorts of different things to stretch their muscles. Dead New World was the first exercise in that.
After abandoning a silly manuscript (several parts of which were retooled for The Book of Bart), I wanted to do something different. Something dark. Scary. I'd never tried to write something like that before. I also wanted to do my take on the zombie genre. There were so many things I dreamt of seeing in a zombie story, but never saw them. This was my chance to put those things into a story myself. Once I was able to put those two ideas together, Dead New World was born. I spent almost a year writing and editing the manuscript, then set about trying to find a home for it. I'd submit the manuscript to agents and publishers, many of whom liked the book, but didn't think they could sell it (this happens A LOT, so get used to it). At one point, I traveled up to Connecticut for a writer's conference to pitch Dead New World in person. Again, I got some nibbles, but nothing concrete. During this time, I did get some interesting feedback on the story.
I wanted Dead New World to be dark. Like ... really dark. I also wanted it to end on a massive cliffhanger, leaving the reader with this feeling that they have to read the sequel (there will be three) as soon as humanly possible. It was great. Only ... it wasn't.
The ending, which couldn't have been more pitch black if I'd tried, had to be lightened up. Not a lot, just enough to where the reader wasn't left feeling like the world was a terrible place. The changes were made, and to make it work I even went back and created a new character to help with the ending. When it was all said and done, I still had a dark ending, just one that didn't leave readers in a place where they'd want to listen to a lot of music from The Cure. I also pulled in part of what was supposed to be the start of Dark New World (the first sequel) and tacked it on to the end.
Everything was worth it in the end, as the retooled and improved Dead New World was picked up by Curiosity Quills, and now my zombie epic is being unleashed upon the world!
About the Author
Growing up, Ryan Hill used to spend his time reading and writing instead of doing homework. This resulted in an obsession with becoming a writer, but also a gross incompetence in the fields of science and mathematics. A graduate of North Carolina State University, Ryan has been a film critic for over five years. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his dog/shadow Maggie. Ryan also feels strange about referring to himself in the third person.
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