What happens after the end of the world? We are, as a society, enamored of apocalyptic tales. Whether the crazy man on the street corner with his “THE END IS NEAR!” sign, Brad Pitt in World War Z, Y2K survivalists hidden in their bunkers, or local breweries cashing in on Mayan prophesies with “12 Beers of the Apocalypse,” we like to be scared and we like to prepare. The world might end in war or natural disasters brought on by global warming. My money is on zombies. But what happens next? After the big bang, what kind of characters are tough enough to dig themselves out of the rubble and rebuild civilization?
I’ve always been fascinated by survivalist stories, growing up reading My Side of the Mountain, Hatchet, Julie of the Wolves, and Island of the Blue Dolphins. Since discovering romance, I’ve fallen in love with adventure tales like Romancing the Stone – anything where the hero and heroine hack their way out of the wilderness. Talk about a crash course in relationship building! But take the end of civilization and throw in some zombies, and you know your hero and heroine have long odds of making it through the day. I had to explore this scenario, so after destroying the world in Hearts of Darkness when the Gates between the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead fall, I had to find two characters who were smart enough and tough enough to make it through the next chapter: hell on earth.
Leif Asgard has a leg up in the survival race because he is an immortal, shape-shifting dragon. His magic blood heals all wounds but a beheading. Strong in his human form, but even more deadly in his dragon form; the Norse zombies – aptrgangr – who stalk the streets of Seattle don’t stand a chance against him, but they threaten every facet of the civilization he’s trying to rebuild. Grace Mercer is only human, and she’s Asgard’s weak spot. Fortunately, she has true grit and has been hunting aptrgangr since before the Gates fell.
Sounds like they have what it takes to survive in zombie-infested, wrecked Seattle, right? That would be too easy. When the Gates fell, Kingu, a Babylonian demigod, escaped the Land of the Dead. They might be able to defeat a few aptrgangr and resist the passion between them, but a full army of the dead led by a demigod in search of god powers will give them a run for their money.
What would you do if everything you knew turned to dust? How would you survive without electricity, running water, transportation, or stocked grocery stores? Do you have the fighting, tracking, hunting, emergency medicine and wilderness skills it would take to survive a disaster of apocalyptic proportions?
One commenter will be chosen at random to win a copy of Hearts of Shadow (Deadglass #2, May 2013, Kensington Zebra).