Thursday, September 29, 2016

Your Brother's Blood

Thomas only wants to go home to his wife and child. He hasn't seen them for some time since he's been fighting a civil war to keep his rural town Barkley safe. Unfortunately, he was killed in that war. Now, he's a Walkin', devoid of pain or any physical sensation. His town regards his kind as evil and destroys them on sight. Will Thomas every be reunited with his family?

The world in the novel is reminiscent of American 19th century frontier days even though it's set hundreds of years in the future. Civilization has collapsed and no one really knows what happened. It was the Automated Age, presumably around the present day, and then humanity fell. The walking dead are becoming more and more numerous over time. The city of Barkley is deeply religious and cites science and education as the reasons for man's downfall. Writing or drawing anything anywhere is forbidden. The only book to be read is the Good Book and that's it. The Walkin' are evil incarnate. Not only are the Walkin' killed, but any of their children as well because they are corrupt and will eventually rise as well.

These rules are strictly enforced and the religious fanaticism deepens and grows. The pinnacle of fanaticism is acolyte Luke. He starves himself, hurts himself, and sees everything in shades of black and white. No matter how sinful he is inside, he considers himself the pinnacle of morality. He is willing to kill for his faith and helps keep the town under the thrall of this religion of fear and hate. Parts of the book are from his point of view. It's terrifying to see his thought processes and justifications for his monstrous behavior. Man is the monster here, not the zombies.

The zombies here are just like humans beings except that they don't eat, drink, sleep, heal, or feel pain. They have all the injuries they had at death but don't bleed anymore. Thomas is the main Walkin' character and he only wants to see his family again. He doesn't want to hurt anyone, but will defend his daughter to his permanent death. He had no idea he condemned her death when he came to see her and was forced to take her with him despite not having any place to stay or food or water for her. Other less religious cities employ zombies to do menial tasks, but still don't treat them fully as people. Zombies could be seen as pretty much any group treated as less than human by society.

Your Brother's Blood is an amazing book. The world is different than I've seen. The author captures so many differing points of view, even of characters I find odious. I would love to see more from this world. I hope this book gets more attention because I just picked it up at indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy without hearing anything about it. I'll eagerly await David Towsey's next book.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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