Book Chat: The Scrouge, Book 1
by Roberto Calas
Three brave knights are on a quest to rescue a woman, traveling across an England infested with plague victims who won’t stay dead.
MYRA’S HORROR BLOG REVIEWS : I wanted to write reviews as if I were sharing the love of a book with a friend. What I liked about it, from storyline to characters; to include any parts that had a negative impact on me as a reader. Join me on the couch as we explore today’s exciting read.
God has forsaken this land.
A mysterious plague descends upon 14th century England, ravaging the country and trapping the souls of the afflicted in eternal madness. The feudal hierarchy–and even the church itself– slowly crumbles as the dead rise to feed and the living seek whatever shelter they can. The bishops of England call for calm and obedience, but one man isn’t listening.
Sir Edward of Bodiam has been separated from the woman he loves and nothing on heaven or earth can stop him from seeking her out.
Edward and two of his knights travel through the swiftly changing landscape of England, a countryside now overrun by the minions of hell. The knights encounter madness, violence, and sorrow, but Edward fights his way ever deeper into the thickening darkness of unholy terror.
Roberto Calas brings you along on a dark, historical tale full of love, death, and black humor. Follow Edward as he journeys to save his wife, his kingdom, and his very soul.
This is not your usual zombie novel. It is set in Medieval England and the main characters are knights, which is cool.
Edward, Tristan and Morgan set out on a quest, but not to rescue a damsel from a dragon, but Edward’s wife, Elizabeth, from plaguers. The folks in this historical setting call the undead plaguers. They are all too familiar with the Black Plague, but unlike the Black Death, victims don’t stay dead. People are much more in peril than nowadays. Villagers and peasants live in hovels or structures not built to keep out zombie hordes. Luckily, they can escape to either castles or fortresses, but even some of these get overrun with plaguers.
Edward prays that Elizabeth is safe behind the wall of St. Edmunds Bury abbey, but it will take days to reach her. The knights plan on stopping each night at a castle or fortified manor, but don’t expect the insane people they encounter and the hordes of undead. One of the first strange occurrences is their run-in with disgusting men using plaguer women as prostitutes. The have a barn full of undead, and explain they attract them by burning mint; the zombies love the scent of the herb. The knights are happy to ride away from these madmen, after leaving threats of death to the men if they catch them doing the activity again. They are spreading the plague sexually.
Ironically, it is the burning of mint that saves the day later, when the knights use it to lure the undead toward French troops who have invaded an area. On their travels, they seek shelter with Lord Roberts who is convinced they are traitors to King Richard. The knights must go through a trial by combat to prove themselves, with Edward going first. Unfortunately he is not pitted against the Lord’s champion knight, but a huge brown bear. Using wile instead of strength, Edward escapes by jumping onto the platform around the arena, and the bear tears into the Lord and his men.
The brave trio encounter many threats and fight seemingly hopeless battles, but survive nonetheless. Sadly, Morgan is bitten when the knights try to fight their way out of a castle surrounded by zombies. They leave him in the care of a friend and hope to bring back the thigh bone of Saint Luke, which is said to heal many ailments. Morgan believes the religious relic will heal him of the plague. When Edward and Tristan finally reach the abbey, they discover the gentry have been sealed in a dormitory with plaguers. Edward cannot give up his Elizabeth, and when they breach the door he goes into a fighting mad rage, slewing the undead stumbling toward them.
Edward finds his beloved wife, already a zombie, but ties her up, determined to find a cure. He plans on using the thigh bone of Saint Luke and see if she can be saved. Meanwhile Tristan sets out to track down an alchemist rumored to hold the remedy for the plague.
I am very interested in the next book and hoping that Elizabeth and Morgan can be brought back to their humanity. The author did an excellent job of presenting the time period; you can tell he did a lot of research. The setting, clothes, language and beliefs have a ring of authenticity that makes this a unique, enjoyable read in the zombie world of literature.
NOTE: All my reviews are published in Uncaged Book Reviews emag. This review will be in the December issue.