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The Ghoul Archipelago
by Stephen Kozeniewski


After ravenous corpses topple society and consume most of the world’s population, freighter captain Henk Martigan is shocked to receive a distress call. Eighty survivors beg him to whisk them away to the relative safety of the South Pacific. Martigan wants to help, but to rescue anyone he must first pass through the nightmare backwater of the Curien island chain.

A power struggle is brewing in the Curiens. On one side, a billionaire seeks to squeeze all the profit he can out of the apocalypse. Opposing him is the charismatic leader of a cargo cult. When a lunatic warlord berths an aircraft carrier off the coast and stakes his own claim on the islands, the stage is set for a bloody showdown.

To save the remnants of humanity (and himself), Captain Martigan must defeat all three of his ruthless new foes and brave the gruesome horrors of...THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Ghoul Archipelago is definitely not what you could call your average zombie novel. With its mixture of Zombie, Apocalypse Now, and even a touch of Strange Days, the book is clearly aimed at the zombie reader whose seen it all and wants something different.

The story takes place in a chain of islands in the South Pacific and begins by following the crew of the Rey Gould, a smuggling vessel with a very unusual cargo. The story unfolds to include pirates, a sleazy technology mogul with a VR device that could mean the survival of the human race, and a maniacal preacher who believes the dead are a sign of The Second Coming.

Kozeniewski balances the viewpoints of an array of different characters pretty seamlessly. There were only a few times I found myself needing to revisit earlier sections of the book to recall what was happening. The characters themselves are also well drawn and feel completely distinct with their own motivations, mannerism, and voice. Foreign characters Tuan Jim and Kurtz, for example, evince some clear deficits in their command of english, which makes them both distinct and real to the reader. Furthermore, Kozeniewski can write. His use of metaphor, characterization, and description are all excellent. There are a few phrases that appeared too often for my liking, but nothing of them were book-breaking.

Where the issues arose for me was that the book was A) a tad long for me and B) the plot and end goal for some of the main characters were not as focused as I would have liked. The book feels much more character rather than plot driven and there are stretches in the book where not a whole lot seemed to be happening. For me this was an issue, but for those looking for an off-the-wall premise and are OK with a somewhat unconventional plot, this will not be an issue.

While, I do not think that I was necessarily the right person for this book, the book is good. It has it’s issues, particularly for those in need of a tightly paced, focused plot from beginning to end, but if you’re OK with book where zombies are one piece of a bizarre little puzzle, this story is worth a look.

Evin Ager, The Bookie Monster for HMS

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