You already know the story of the Titanic, what Deck Z does so seamlessly is use that trusted formula of Just Add Zombies and bingo! You have this excellent, though in parts harrowing novel which offers readers a ‘what if’ scenario if there was an outbreak of the undead during the final hours of the famed, doomed ocean liner.
Theodor Weiss is a German scientist who chooses to defect after discovering that his research into new and deadly plague is sought by the German military for nefarious purposes. Fearing that the Germans will send someone to steal the sample, he chooses to flee to the safety of America with the last remaining sample of the virus with the intention of processing a cure for all plagues. Unfortunately for him he buys a ticket for the Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage in order to cross the ocean, not his last mistake.
From the first few pages you come to realise that the authors are two things; zombie enthusiasts and dedicated researchers into their subject. The attention to detail regarding the ship is meticulous without once hinging on boring the reader. The facts are there and so are real life characters, genuine people borrowed from reality grace the pages. But not just names have being used in order to create a sense of being there, Pauls and Solomon have borrowed the events which shaped these people during their final hours. Heroes are heroes and cowards are cowards, so whatever happened to these people during their final moments was recounted by numerous witness’s, what you read here is a version of the truth, albeit with hungry zombies chomping at their necks as the ship plunges deeper into the freezing waters of the Atlantic.
The bridge between what is fiction and what was reality blurs so evenly that at times I found myself wondering how much of this is true. The horrific thing is only the plague of the undead and a few characters are made up, the rest of the plot was already written for the authors. It shouldn’t work, it should be a clumsy mess, it should tar the memory of those that perished on that fateful night, but the characters are as true as they were, doing their memory justice. Captain Smith is portrayed as an honourable man, determined to do the ultimate good no matter what the cost, and it’s refreshing not to have to have a young and buff, chisel-jawed hero with a tragic past coping with zombies. Captain Smith was a real gentlemen, seasoned by war and a life at sea, so the speculation within the story is probably how he would have reacted to an outbreak of plague on board, his methods are brutal, but by god he gets results.
Thrown into the mix is the German agent who deals out pain with a pair of pliers in several gory scenes and a ballsy little tomboy named Lou who adds humour and sympathy to proceedings. Weiss is admirable though reluctant hero who finds himself having to resort to violence in order to rectify the terrible mess he helped cause.
Another thing I adored with Deck Z is the language, bringing across the parlances of the time perfectly, including more often than not actual quotes from real people woven into the story. Also great one liners move the action along nicely giving the book a filmic quality. A story such as this would transfer well to cinema, James Cameron could provide the sets, Kathy Bates could even reprise her role as the Unsinkable Molly Brown, and Stephen Fry as Captain Edward Smith would be perfect for all the witticisms he releases throughout. Once you’ve read Deck Z you too will realise why this gripping adventure would be such a damned great film.
Deck Z is available on Amazon on pre-order, now go and get this book.