For those who have read the first two books in Walter
Greatshell's Xombies trilogy, APOCALYPSO will be a fun and
gore-filled finale. While this novel can stand on its own,
I still think trilogies are best read in order, and this
one is no exception. Greatshell does a nice job of weaving
in back-story to fill in details, but it might be a bit
confusing to those starting with this novel.
The first section of the book features Lulu Pangloss, the
teenager who starred in the fist book in the trilogy. She
and her fellow xombies are still in the submarine in which
their adventure began, but her doctor friend Alice
Panghorn thinks a dose of "reality" might help. So, the
group inhabits an empty town and recreates life from the
guidelines of Archie comics. The results are disastrous
but amusing if not pitiful. The xombies then set out to
save any remaining humans they can find from an impending
danger; the whole reason scientist Uri Miska developed
Agent X in the first place.
The second section features Todd and Ray, two human boys
who escaped the xombies. They hook up with a group of
religious humans who believe Agent X is a result of God's
wrath. While there is tension between two factions of
humans—the Apostle and the Prophet have different ideas—
they all want to reach Xanadu, an allegedly safe place in
In the third section, the two groups collide, causing
mayhem. Xombies want to save humans, and humans want to
save xombies. It's funny but horrific and deftly done in
all of its scary comicness.
In the hands of a lesser writer, it would be satire with
no meaning, but with Greatshell at the helm, it works on
all levels. Strong character development, the right tone
and adventure that keep the pages turning make this an
adventure not to forget.
Zombie or xombie novels have been appearing in greater
quantities of late, and while I haven't read all of them,
these authors have large shoes to fill or follow with
Greatshell's trilogy such a strong contender. Some books
depend too much on comic relief and some try to be too
serious, and Greatshell strikes the right balance. I look
forward to reading more of his work, including his stand-
alone novel, Mad Skills.