Author Guest Post: Daniel J. Williams
Throwback Thursday! We revisit a author post from 2016.
The book this week is the first in a zombie series. After reading the excerpt offered in this post, I want to read this book.
Mace of the Apocalypse is the first book in the Mace of the Apocalypse series. The book series follows a small group of survivors through the initial outbreak of a zombie apocalypse in San Francisco to their continued struggles for survival and redemption.
The story is an action/adventure tale filled with raw emotion, deep conflicts, bloody combat, humor, and heart. At its core, it is really about the value of hope in times of extreme challenges. It will take you from ground zero in San Francisco to the group’s final struggle in San Antonio, Texas.
Review: By Mina Gorey from the Zed Word Blog.
“Mace’s breakneck pace progresses smoothly from scene to scene with relentless momentum and solid chapter construction. Working with the modern “fast zombie” mythos, Williams delivers an intelligently-crafted action tale with fleshed-out, sympathetic character development, a proactive cast, and some interesting surprises, such as his mature handling of mental health issues, gender roles, plausible science, medical references and geopolitical points. Williams done his homework here and the result is depth and a storyline both zombie fans and those simply looking for a fast, fun read will appreciate. There’s all the gore and bloodshed a zomlit fan could want and a solid build-up to an explosive climax that effectively establishes the sequel he’s working on. Respectful handling of gender roles offers a ride everyone will enjoy –Williams’s “damsels” pull their menfolk out of distress as often as they’re pulled out themselves and are as adept with artillery or a good solid throat-punch as anyone else…In sum, Mace of the Apocalypse is a pedal-to-the-metal read and gets Williams off to roaring start among zombie action-adventure wordsmiths.”
Review: By Dianne, Tome Tender Blog
“One sign of an excellent series is that when it comes to an end, you are sad, you want more, but you feel good about the ending, its complete, yet your imagination lingers with the what ifs in the future. Legend of Mace, the final book in the Mace of the Apocalypse series by Daniel J. Williams ended on a perfect note, the series was still fresh, the action moved along over a span of years and the characters changed, some for the better, some had become obsolete, characters came and went, leaving their own special mark behind…Looking for a series with true heroes, deep conflict and non-stop twists, action and grit? Check out the entire series of Mace of the Apocalypse, and be sure to read Legend of Mace. You’ll be glad you did!
Khalid boarded the BART train in Oakland. His head was spinning and his nerves were tight. His mouth was completely dry. The train was so crowded he was forced to stand, gripping a flower vase in one hand while curling the other around a support bar. The helium balloon, now loaded with the toxin, gently bobbed against the pole. His mouth twitched as he glanced up at the small Arabic symbol printed on its face. “The color red for the blood of the martyrs,” he said inside his head. “The sword represents the sacred jihad.” He squeezed his eyes shut and said another prayer, the fear growing with each passing moment. “Allah, let me die well.”
Juan “Loco” Guzman was packed in among the regular commuters. It was rush hour on a warm and beautiful spring afternoon in San Francisco, and as the BART train hummed along its tracks, Loco stared intently at Khalid with suspicion. Sitting in a side seat, he watched as Khalid closed his eyes, moving his lips in silent prayer. He boarded the train at the same station as Khalid and immediately noticed the strange marking on the face of the balloon.
Studying the beads of sweat that formed around Khalid’s forehead, Loco grew more uptight. Loco, a member of the Border Brothers gang in Oakland, viewed everyone as a possible threat. Recently hearing about a plot to attack transportation systems on the news, his inner radar was placed on high. He was not alone in his observations, although most of the other passengers who noticed Khalid didn’t seem as concerned with the man’s behavior. Khalid’s nervousness, in fact, seemed to provoke more smiles than misgivings from fellow passengers, who’d concluded his nervous demeanor was the result of an imminent romantic encounter, which was the desired effect.
Khalid, however, was not on a mission of love. The flowers and balloon were not sentimental objects purchased for a night of lovemaking and romance, but cold instruments designed for large scale destruction and death.
With each bump and rattle Khalid grew more nervous and proud. He would be remembered for all eternity for this sacrifice. He studied the map on the wall and began counting down stations: Four to go. As the train pulled away from each station he felt his pulse race a little faster.
As the doors finally closed at the Montgomery Street Station and the train began to move, Khalid was shocked by the fear and nervousness that suddenly gripped him. The next stop was Powell. This was it. There was no turning back. When the conductor’s voice came over the PA announcing the Powell Street station as the next stop, Khalid stiffened up. Loco was right.
Dropping the vase, Khalid eyed Loco for the first time as the glass shattered on the floor. As passengers jumped in surprise around him, Khalid placed his right hand inside his suit pocket, pulling out a box cutter knife.
Loco immediately rose to his feet, triumphant in his assessment, reaching for the butterfly knife in his own leather jacket. Khalid’s eyes grew wide as he raised the box cutter, yelling “Allah be praised!”
Loco, never hesitant in battle, jumped towards him and thrust the 5-inch blade deep into his side. Khalid jerked as he slashed at the balloon and a small powdery cloud dispersed as Loco stabbed him again. Khalid stared at him, wide-eyed, in disbelief, as silent as the powdery cloud of death that now rose throughout the train, and Loco, suddenly terrified of what the powdered substance could do, stabbed him again and again and again in a rage of frustration.
At first, the shouts and screams on the train reacted to the extreme act of violence, but within seconds the screams turned to something else, something primal, as the tiny particles were inhaled and absorbed by its first victims, who gripped their heads as if millions of needles of fire were just thrust into their skulls.
Loco, standing over the corpse of Khalid, thought for a brief moment he’d be recognized as a hero for his bravery and action. Maybe they’d give him a key to the city, or at least let him off parole early. A burning in his eyes quickly disrupted his thoughts: Starting as a mild irritation, it escalated into a full-force inferno within a matter of seconds. It felt like his eyes were being consumed by fire.
He dropped the knife, clutching his head, as if holding it could somehow stop the pain. The burning spread up into his skull and he screamed as it grew in intensity. The needles of fire seemed to dig into his brain matter, and his thoughts became wild and incoherent. He flailed his arms out, seeking to grab hold of something that would lessen the pain. He threw his head back in despair and spewed vomit. His body convulsed violently as the pain throbbed to delirious levels. He gagged and choked on his vomit only to spew volumes more. He no longer knew who he was. He was lost in a psychosis of torment that ripped from him his identity and brain function. He screamed and tore at his hair, trying to rip it from his skull by the roots.
With a blinding explosion, the blood vessels burst in his brain like the finale of a fireworks show. Collapsing to the ground, Loco twitched several times as the lights went out.
There would be no peace in death.
At the moment of flat-line, the toxin rapid-fired neurons to the amygdala in his medial temporal lobe, radically increasing his emotional response to outside stimuli and making him extremely unstable and dangerous. Devastating Loco’s frontal lobe function except for the basal ganglia, his brain function was now primal, controlled by a foreign life substance that was radically altered by the original toxin. He was no longer technically alive. His heart function ceased.
The alien proteins surged through his dying cells, controlling his nervous system like a parasite. His motor skills were no longer limited by his physical health: They were controlled and operated by the power of the toxin, lighting him up like a Christmas tree. The anterior chambers and vitreous of his eyes flooded with blood, and the optical nerves were damaged by the increased blood flow, making them increasingly hyper-sensitive to light: the only part of his being where chemical messages and nerve endings were still functional and feeling.
Loco’s eyes snapped open. Shrieking in fury, he clawed at the floor, his teeth cracking as his jaw clamped down with rage. The frenzy emanated from every pore in his body. It was all he was. He was so incredibly alive with hate. He needed to kill. Immediately. Not just kill, but absolutely devastate, mutilate, devour, destroy. He shrieked again in madness at the power of his rage.
As the train car prepared to enter the station, over a hundred souls from the train shook violently with anticipated fury. Life was about to be changed forever. The fury of hell was about to be released. The train pulled into the station.
Other books in the series:
Book 2: Value of Jade
Book 3: Children of the Apocalypse
Book 4: Legend of Mace
Daniel J Williams grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. After a lifelong obsession with horror and zombies, he dedicated several years to serious writing. His goal was to create an epic tale of darkness and survival. The result is the Mace of the Apocalypse series.