Written by: Matthew J. Barbour
Zombie Rebellion, by Sean Munger, is historical fiction centered on the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 only with the added complication of zombies. It is Munger’s second book. The first, Zombies of Byzantium, follows a similar format. Both are fast-paced tongue-in-cheek adventures which keep the reader glued to the book from beginning to end.
In Zombie Rebellion, tax collector Roger Clymer stumbles upon a zombie outbreak while going about his federal duties in western Pennsylvania. The plague is initially transmitted through poisoned whiskey provided by an evil Shawnee Chieftain, known as Tallea. Tallea’s goal is to exact vengeance on those who not only helped destroy his people with liquor but continue to profit from their decline. The grayfaces, or zombies, are now running rampant across the Pennsylvania countryside and it is up to Roger and his 12 year old son, Nathan, to stop it. Along the way, they will meet up Chief Black Hoof, Treasurer Alexander Hamilton, and President George Washington.
Sure, there is also probably a message in the story somewhere about us coming together as a nation or about how we treat Native Americans. There is also something in there about the unbreakable bond between father and son and the transition from boy to man. Take your pick of social theme here. The point is you have George Washington squaring off against the zombie horde!!!
Munger plays it fast and loose with American History. The Whiskey Rebellion certainly did happen and many of characters are actual historical figures, but as expected the author must take extreme liberties with the facts for the story to come together. This being said, Munger’s overlying setting is quite believable and historically accurate given his background in academia. Zombie Rebellion is, therefore, an exacting period piece even if a work of complete fiction.
This eye for detail coupled with the confidence to present the piece in such a light-hearted manner is unexpected from an author with only two books under his belt. Munger is walking a tight rope, which most veteran story tellers would hang themselves upon. He is one part Bernard Cornwell and one part Max Brooks.
Is Zombie Rebellion a classic? No, but it is a fun read. The plot moves quickly from one place to another. There is little filler or downtime between the action-oriented sequences which dominate the narrative. As expected with any good zombie book, there is also a healthy dose of violence and gore thrown in. If you like history and you like zombies, this is a sure thing. Pick it up today.