After ravenous corpses topple society and consume most of the world’s population, freighter captain Henk Martigan is shocked to receive a distress call. Eighty survivors beg him to whisk them away to the relative safety of the South Pacific. Martigan wants to help, but to rescue anyone he must first pass through the nightmare backwater of the Curien island chain.
A power struggle is brewing in the Curiens. On one side, the billionaire inventor of the mind-control collar seeks to squeeze all the profit he can out of the apocalypse. Opposing him is the charismatic leader of a ghoul-worshipping cargo cult. When a lunatic warlord berths an aircraft carrier off the coast and stakes his own claim on the islands, the stage is set for a bloody showdown.
To save the remnants of humanity (and himself), Captain Martigan must defeat all three of his ruthless new foes and brave the gruesome horrors of…THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO.
*Thank you to the author for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Kozeniewski continues to indulge in his strange jar obsession in this novel, though notably the jars play an even greater role than they have in his books that I’ve read thus far.
In my quest to find a witty picture to highlight this odd obsession, I have found this – an app which allows you to create a Matt Groening style Futurama head in a jar. I am, however, gutted that it isn’t currently available in the UK.
Back on track, to the book!
The chapters of this book were laid out in a different style to his other work, each chapter followed the journey of a different character. This did give us a broader view of the story and the characters but I did find it difficult to really bond with any of them, which I believe is what led me to give this book 4 stars rather than the 5 I would have expected going in.
The story was solid and very enjoyable, it had all the things I can really ask for from an action book; pirates, zombies and a load of virtual reality porn.
The world has already ended, zombies have taken over the world and the survivors are trying to get on as best they can – their main hazard seems to be turning on one another rather than the undead and nibbly.
What really stood out to me in this book was that Kozeniewski has a real knack for female characters, they’re not ‘strong female leads’, sex objects or damsels in distress…. they’re just characters who happen to have ovaries. This has added another level of respect to my already high opinion of his work, it’s something that I just don’t seem to see enough of in the books I read.
The other thing that stood out about this book is that the gore was OUTSTANDING, I’m pretty sure I’m getting more squeamish as I get older (booooooo!) but I was feeling pretty queasy when someone was forced to eat corpse goop. The violence wasn’t gratuitious but it was spectacular when it happened, I would champion this nastiness to the very end!
Though I wasn’t really able to bond with any of the characters, they were all pretty spectacular and well thought out – they weren’t all inherently good or evil, they had their own valid motivations for everything they did and I think they all related to each other as real people would in such circumstances. Their interactions were definitely the driving force of this book.
‘Marlow couldn’t have looked more confused if Jim had asked to fuck his mother in a third hole specifically drilled into her head for the purpose‘ ~ The Ghoul Archipelago, Stephen Kozeniewski
I’m definitely a fan of Kozeniewski’s work and will be sharing some more reviews of his work with you in future. I was particularly impressed with use of the phrase ‘whirling fan of death’ in this book as a nod to the book Billy and the Cloneasaurus, as well as the casual reference to the ‘hungry, hungry caterpillar’.
If you’re a fan of dark humour, horror, gore and zombies – this is the book for you!
If you haven’t already seen my other reviews…. check these out!