This Dark Earth
John Hornor Jacobs
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The land is contaminated, electronics are defunct, the ravenous undead remain, and life has fallen into a nasty and brutish state of nature. Welcome to Bridge City, in what was once Arkansas: part medieval fortress, part Western outpost, and the precarious last stand for civilization. A ten-year-old prodigy when the world ended, Gus is now a battle-hardened young man. He designed Bridge City to protect the living few from the shamblers eternally at the gates. Now he's being groomed by his physician mother, Lucy, and the gentle giant Knock-Out to become the next leader of men. But an army of slavers is on its way, and the war they'll wage for the city's resources could mean the end of mankind as we know it.
Can Gus become humanity's savior? And if so, will it mean becoming a dictator, a martyr . . . or maybe something far worse than even the zombies that plague the land?
"This smart addition to the zombie genre is heroic and strangely hopeful, championing the unyielding human drive for justice and civilization." - Publishers Weekly
"This Dark Earth is a smart, thoughtful look at the end of humanity that delivers horrifying detail packed with an emotional resonance. It's The Road meets World War Z. Deftly written, with eloquent prose peppered with crisp, dark humor, Jacobs crafts a chillingly believable tale that transcends genre fiction and manages to do what I long for whenever I sit down to read a book: make me wish I'd written it."
- Scott G. Browne, author of Breathers and Lucky Bastard
"A savage gut-punch of a tale, lurching hellbent to a spectacular showdown ending unparalleled in the zombie canon."
- Sophie Littlefield, author of Aftertime and Rebirth
"This Dark Earth is, quite simply, the best zombie novel I've read in years. Breathes some much-needed new life into the dead."
- Brian Keene, best-selling author of The Rising and Ghoul
newsmen said that the president and the . . . Chinese guy . . . that they were gonna talk. We heard honking and screaming. Mr. Milton came driving down the street, swerving. There was something wrong with him. He screamed at us and shook all over.” Lucy hugs Gus tight to her chest and looks at me. I open the MRE. Spaghetti with meat sauce. An army of smaller bags fall from the larger one. I don’t need the Sterno; this has its own heating packet. Bread. Cheese spread. Salt. Pepper. Cocoa. And
that and she definitely wouldn’t. She’d do worse than unman him. He’d turn zombie before she was through. And he’d suffer first. His cock pulsed in her mouth and the back of her throat, and when he came, she had trouble breathing. But she wouldn’t swallow that part of him. Never. “You’re an old-school nigger.” She coughed up his semen and wiped her mouth. “You,” she said, voice hoarse. “You’re as black as me.” “I don’t even have to ask you, you suck me off. You’re like clay, ready to be
take the women’s horses. This is covert, so you’ll be going as quickly and quietly as you can. You don’t want to pull up to the slavers with an army of undead at your back—” He says it and then gets a funny look on his face. I laugh. “Sounds like a plan.” “Indeed.” “I’m just glad I was here to witness the genius, Captain.” Wallis frowns at me. “Lieutenant. That’s all I’ll ever be. You don’t assume rank without promotion.” “Oh? Sorry.” I’m thinking about the Wall. The sun is going down, and
marble left in his noggin. He’s grasping at the rungs of the inset foot and handholds. I should shoot him now, but the sound would just triple their number. But the smartie needs to be put down. It’s a toss-up if the pressure behind the front row of shamblers will build faster than the steam pressure. Damn, I’m tired. Didn’t get much sleep last night in that tree. The gauge is at fifty after two hours, and there’s a mosh pit of revenants moaning right outside the cab window. We’ve got the
in the Garden, Gus sees the twin stars of halogens over the motor pool and murderhole, new flares arcing over the Dead Mile, the sky lightening, roseate, like fingers stretching themselves against the vault of heaven. He stops, listening. “No, I can’t let you.” She’s crying, a sound so foreign to his ears that it takes him a while to identify it. “I won’t run. And this is something I can give to Gus. To Ellie. Give to everyone in Bridge City who will follow him,” says Knock-Out. He coughs, and