There are many ways to tell a story that takes place in the zombie apocalypse. Lots of these stories have to do with people struggling to find food and survive in a world that has gone crazy. Then we have stories like The Ghoul Archipelago by Stephen Kozeniewski that gives an original spin on the sub genre of zombie fiction that is extremely popular right now. Stephen’s story takes place in the South Pacific and not only deals with zombies, it also deals with pirates, virtual sex software and religion.
The story begins with a ship captain taking supplies to sell to a small remote village in the Curien islands. The villagers aren’t happy to see the ship’s crew because what they really need is food and not material items. Soon afterwords the villagers and ship’s crew are attacked by pirates. This is just the tip of the iceberg, soon we have a showdown between a billionaire looking to make a profit off the apocalypse and a ghoul worshiping cult and of course we have zombies making everything more difficult.
One thing I liked about this book is the idea that some people won’t change even as society crumbles. One of the interesting characters in this story is Rand who makes sex software and refuses to let something like the end of the world get in the way of him making money. He comes up with the idea of a program where you can have virtual sex with the undead. I loved the idea that there would still be people who would cash in on a world gone mad and I liked what he does to carry out his plans.
Speaking of mad and holding on to life before the apocalypse we also have an interesting character in a reverend named Sonntag. Like Rand he is holding on to his former life but unlike Rand he seems to have a lot of people who hate him. That being said, he still has a large flock of followers. He is starting to question his beliefs as he witnesses the collapse of society but he still finds a way to use the apocalypse to his advantage by saying that he can offer salvation through god. Rand and Sonntag were the best parts of this book, they were believable and I think if the zombie apocalypse happened, there would be people like this out there that would use the end to their advantage.
The Ghoul Archipelago gets off to a rough start, there are so many characters and different storylines introduced that I found myself getting confused as to who’s who. The story gets better as it goes along though and after a bit I was hooked. You have to give the author points for originality and I liked the idea that even as society crumbles there will still be certain people out there who are just trying to make a little money. I also like the setting in this story, it was nice to see a zombie story that wasn’t all set in a city or in the Northern hemisphere. There is a lot going on in this book and if you like zombies its worth your time.