Original Release Date: April 1, 2008; re-released March 12, 2010
Publisher: Permuted Press (original); Gallery Books (re-release)
If you are planning on reading David Dunwoody’s “EMPIRE,” then I’ve got news for you: prepare to have an opinion about it when you’re done.
Not just any opinion, but most likely a far stronger opinion than you get when you finish reading an average book. You see, “EMPIRE” is one of the most unique works of zombie fiction available, and it’s all attributed to one major character in the story: Death, the Pale Rider himself.
Truth time here: as a fiction writer myself, I am insanely jealous of Dunwoody’s brilliant idea to include the character of Death into a zombie novel. And why the Hell wouldn’t he? What is a more natural pairing than the personification of the end of one’s life with a story about folks who return from said un-life-less state? Quite frankly, I can’t believe that it took 38 years – from 1968 (when Romero first introducing us to zombies) until 2006 (when Dunwoody first began releasing “EMPIRE” chapter-by-chapter as an online serial) – for someone to create a story that directly associated the character of Death with the undead characters of zombies. (My apologies if there are any publically-published zombie stories that exist prior to “EMPIRE” that incorporated Death as a character, but I’m not familiar with them, and an exhaustive search on the topic produced no results for me.)