“In the Beginning…
‘I’m coming to get you.'”
And so begins the exciting story Knight of the Dead, by Ron Smorynski. This is the first volume of the series and starts at the very beginning of a zombie apocalypse. From the chaos of no one knowing what is going, to the annihilation of thousands of lives, Ronan has one goal, to keep his family alive.
Ronan has an advantage that most don’t, he has been training for years. Not for the zombie apocalypse, but as a medieval re-enactment fighter. With sword and armor ready he must battle the zombies that roam near their home and hope not to attract the giant horde that can take down buildings at a time.
The story is fast-paced and filled with excitement as you read about a modern day knight fighting zombies, struggling to stay alive, and finding moments of happiness within a bleak world. Ronan makes for a great character to follow in this world because of his skill set. He is capable, brave, and motivated. But he also has hope, which is an important factor in surviving that level of atrocity. The main reason he has this is his family. His wife and two daughters are also capable and brave people, making the best of a horrific situation. But all of the main characters acknowledge the horror around them. They experience fear, hopelessness, horror, and sadness, which makes them feel like real people. The bond of this family is fun to read and really helped me feel connected to the characters. They are also a religious family. This affects their own personal arcs, maintaining hope and the way they think about why this happened and how it will end. But if you are not religious as a reader, their faith does not affect the overall plot. The book offers both scientific and religious explanations for what is happening in the book world based on the mindset of the character because the book is told entirely through Ronan’s perspective.
The strongest element of this book, for me, was the way the characters personal arcs go up and down throughout the story. Ronan spends a lot of time questioning his responsibilities in this unprecedented time. Of course, originally his thoughts are entirely on keeping his family safe, but once they get fortified, he must ponder whether he is responsible for the lives of others. This questioning is interesting and is hard not to question in yourself as the reader. Wanting to be a hero vs. focusing on those you love. In this type of horror, I do not think there is judgment either way. Ronan, as someone who is religious, also battles with his faith. How do you believe in a greater purpose whole watching so many die horrifically? Smorynski pulled off all this character questioning superbly as the characters remain true to themselves along the way. He has written them in a way that every decision made makes sense based on the information we have about them, which is very important to me in keeping me invested in the characters I am reading about.
This book is a fairly quick but exciting read. Throughout the story, the steaks remain high, too the point where I was worried about the safety of every character throughout. No one seemed safe, even the main characters. The book left off at a point that was both satisfying and has been eagerly waiting for more! I would definitely recommend giving this book a read if you are interested in zombie, apocalypse, and/ or Christian horror.
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