Everywhere you look… Zombies! Movies about zombies are nothing new. Comic books about zombies seem immensely popular. But now my last bastion of zombie-free relaxation has been infected: zombies have invaded the Star Wars Universe.
Death Troopers is a stand-alone novel by Joe Schreiber, an accomplished writer in the horror genre. His debut Star Wars novel is set in the time just before the events of Episode IV– the Empire is in charge, and the Rebellion has yet to strike a major blow for freedom. The novel explains the fate of the prison barge Purge, as they attempt to repair their broken ship with parts found on a derelict Star Destroyer. Unfortunately for the crew, there is something very nasty waiting aboard the abandoned Star Destroyer….
If you are a fan of horror novels and zombies, I think you will like this book. Schreiber does a great job keeping this book going at a quick pace, and his descriptions of the grotesque are succinct and effective. The novel quickly introduces a core group of protagonists for the reader to get behind– the prison barge Doctor, some brothers that were prisoners, the captain of the guards, and a couple of “very special guests” from the Star Wars Universe. The final half of the book is essentially a long series of chases, escapes, and grisly deaths. Exactly what you would expect in a horror novel. Not what you would expect from a Star Wars novel, though.
I’m not a huge fan of the horror genre, but I felt that Schreiber did a good job setting up his tale and brought it to a great finish. If I have any complaints at all about the novel it is the presence of the two “special guests” in the tale– as soon as they show up, the readers know that people will survive. Part of a good horror tale for me includes the belief that any person in the story could die at any time.
Bottom line for me: good novel if you like a little horror and zombie action in your sci-fi. If you are a more traditional Star Wars reader, you may find it a little light on the Star Wars for your tastes. Death Troopers is available in hardback and as an audio download.