True Review
Current Issue Number 86 Vol. 29 October 2013
Mending The Moon

100 DAYS IN DEADLAND by Rachel Aukes (, 447 pp., $18.15. ISBN 978-1-470188-054 (click to purchase).

I generally don’t read self-published novels, but every once in a while I make an exception. True Review readers will probably agree this was good one.

Despite being ANOTHER zombie novel, Aukes is able to surprise us and shatter some zombie-fiction expectations.

100 DAYS IN DEADLAND is patterned after Dante’s Inferno, focusing on the nine circles of hell. This allegorical novel focuses on the current day after Earth has been consumed by a deadly virus and, like the zombie novels some of us have grown to appreciate, for whatever reason, the curse is transmuted by the transfer of blood or saliva from the zombies (Zed) to humans.

In DEADLAND, Aukes provides not necessarily a near-end of the world novel but more like humanity’s end as we know it. Stragglers, survivors of the plague, band together to fight the Zed “herds” that plague the living, consuming the final human survivors.

There are too many zombie novels out there. How many new or inventive ideas are going to arise from this (slowly becoming tired) genre? The world is ceaselessly ridden by HAVES (the humans) and the HAVE-NOTS (Zeds). What else is new? What else can we learn about the zombies?

Obviously Aukes loves the poet Virgil and “Inferno,” littering the novel with homage and symbolism everywhere in DEADLAND. The focus is on survivors near Des Moines, Iowa. In this case, Mia Ryan has to abandon her protected middle-class upbringing and bring new armor to her life as “Cash.” She meets Joseph Seibert, sergeant first class, 75th Ranger Regiment, nicknamed “Clutch.” In their world order, the Zeds are relatively easy to dispose of. It’s the existing humans that have re-banded into something even more deadly that Cash and Clutch have to confront.

So the two spend their time fighting an ex-military officer, “Doyle,” and his recruits, “dogs,” intent on putting down anything that gets in their way or usurps their power at the survival camps they have set up. That includes any resistance from still-surviving humans. Cash must become as ruthless as Doyle and his dogs to fight for a world she believes she can rescue, or a standard of living that can be re-animated (for lack of a better word). Can Cash and Clutch fight for peace on Earth?

I love Aukes’ intense plotting, her narrative verve, and certainly how well she engages us in these characters. Cash and Clutch seem real and possible. You only hope the world they inherited isn’t.

Aukes has informed us that, in her words, “Right now I'm focused on the Deadland Saga, which will be a 3-part story shadowing the 3 poems of the Divine Comedy. Deadland's Harvest is coming in the late spring, which I'm writing now. Deadland Rising is expected late 2014. I'm also working on several short stories tied with the Deadland Saga.”

We look forward to seeing what Aukes will do. This should be a lot of fun.Andrew Andrews


In This Issue

Mending The Moon 100 Days in Deadland A Cold Season Rites of Passage

Red is for Rage The Hand of Osiris Apocalypse The Haunting of Twenty-First Century America

Saucer Country Click on Book Cover for Review A Commonplace Killing

Pray for Us Sinners Fingal O' Reilly, Irish Doctor If Angels Fight Inferno

Recommended In True Review
Ghosts Know


GHOSTS KNOW, by Ramsey Campbell. TOR (, 2013, 285 pp., $25.99. ISBN 978-0-7653-3633-0 (click to purchase).

Radio talk show hosts and mysterious psychics – and how provocative that combination can be – provide the fuel for another engaging and horrifying novel from Campbell.

Andrew M. Andrews
23 Years on Fire


23 YEARS ON FIRE, by Joel Shepherd. Pyr/Prometheus (, 2013, 435 pp., $16.95. ISBN 978-1-61614-810-2 (click to purchase).

Hunter-killer android Cassandra Kresnov returns in this book to aid the Federation to visit a portion of League space called New Torah to find a way to stop a regime of corporations from building synthetic soldiers. What she discovers will test her belief and loyalties to her known universe.

Andrew M. Andrews


ANATHEMA by D.A. Dalessandro. First Folio Press (, 2013, 279 pp., $10.99. ISBN 978-0-98951-051-6 (click to purchase).

A creature has come to terrorize the isolated island of Nantucket in 1856, before science could even grasp the concept of evolution and before anybody could grasp the concept of a monster that could be explained. In Nantucket in the mid-19th Century, there was Prudence Mott and Harvard medical student Balthazar Andrews. Anathema is the first of a planned trilogy. The second novel, Armies of the Night, according to the author’s Website ( is set during the Civil War.

Andrew M. Andrews


CROOKED by Richard Pett. Broken Eye Books (, 2013, 541 pp., $19.99. 978-1-94037-200-6 (click to purchase).

From the press release: “If you’re a fan of the decayed streets of Mieville, Vandermeer, Lovecraft, and Conan Doyle, Richard Pett’s grim, phantasmagorical tale of urban fantasy and revolution may be just up your alley.”

Andrew M. Andrews

Next Time In True Review


HAUNTINGS ed. by Ellen Datlow. Tachyon Publications (, 2013, 422 pp., $16.95. ISBN 978-1-61696-088-9 (click to purchase).

Everything You Need


EVERYTHING YOU NEED by Michael Marshall Smith. Earthling Publications (, 2013, 280 pp., $45.00. ISBN 978-0-9838071-4-8 (click to purchase).

Strange Playgrounds


STRANGE PLAYGROUNDS by George Daniel Lea. Dark Moon Books (, 2013, 320 pp., $15.95. ISBN 978-0-98940-906-6 (click to purchase).

Beyond The Sun


BEYOND THE SUN ed. by Bryan Thomas Schmidt. Fairwood Press (, 2013, 290 pp., $17.99. ISBN 978-1-933846-38-5 (click to purchase).

Apocalypse 13


SHE WALKS IN DARKNESS by Evangeline Walton. Tachyon Publications (, 2013, 184 pp., $14.95. ISBN 978-1-61696-133-6 (click to purchase).