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Plague of the Dead (Morningstar Strain #1)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,210 Ratings  ·  311 Reviews
The “zombie apocalypse,” once on the fringes of horror, has become one of the most buzzworthy genres in popular culture. Now, in Plague of the Dead, Z.A. Recht delivers an intelligent, gripping thriller that will leave both new and die-hard zombie fans breathless.

The end begins with a viral outbreak unlike anything mankind has ever encountered before. The infected are sub
Paperback, First Pocket Books Trade Paperback Edition, 299 pages
Published January 2010 by Permuted Press (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 17, 2012 MsBDiamondDiva1 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trash-books, zombies
Thanks to the blue sky I have finished this piece of junk!!! I am so sorry, I just could not like this story as much as I tried; this zombie story fall flat!!! Why are there so many good reviews on this book?
I mean here is the main reason:

1. The characters know that a bite, blood, fluid or scratch would get them infected-but no one thinks to put on leather, extra layers or anything to protect their skin!!! So, they were basically saying- "Look at me zombie; I am a walking fried chicken leg."

Doug Lewis
Jul 09, 2009 Doug Lewis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zombie-stuff
OK ... so, it was a nice try. The explanation for why there are fast AND slow zombies was GREAT. But unfortunately, not a whole lot else has great merit. The characters are all cookie-cutter. Every "military" character is the same as the next - and they use A LOT of cheesy jargon like "FUBAR" and "SNAFU" constantly.. making it seem like the author did military research by watching too many movies. Also - some of the pop-culture references seem very out of place such as "it looked like somewhere ...more
Mar 30, 2009 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a discussion with my wife about what constitutes a zombie story. Plague of the Dead seems to be more of a virus story. The strain hits, turns people into mindless, seemingly soulless, infected "carriers", but for all intents and purposes, they are still alive. However, when the "carriers" are killed, they turn into the living dead because they rise and continue on in the attempt to get some food, namely you and me. So I would venture a change of the genre to something like infection novels ...more
Carolyn  Storer
3.5 Stars

Plague of the Dead is such a fun book - if you can call the downfall of mankind fun, which I can as it's just fiction... This book has all the elements I love in zombie fiction; lots of zombies, great characters and an absorbing storyline.

The writing is very smooth - nice and easy to read, great description and imagination. Recht also uses both types of zombie: the fast '28 Days Later' kind, and the shuffling, slow 'Night of the Living Dead' kind. And there are lots of them, thousands i
Jul 15, 2013 Kat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zombie, 2013-reads
I've said before that Jonathan Maberry is responsible for my zombie obsession, but what I don't think I have spoken about before is that Z.A. Recht's The Morningstar Strain series cemented my love for the undead. As soon as I had finished Maberry's Patient Zero, I went on a hunt for another zombie book, and the first one that I picked up was Plague of the Dead, way back in 2009. In preparation of reading the final book in the series, I decided to go back and read the first two books again, even ...more
Patrick D'Orazio
I am more interested in character development than I am in raw visceral appeal that is related to the horror in horror novels. Give me some folks to root for and I will read with baited breath every last bit of their stories. Sad when they died, thrilled when they live. Don't get me wrong, the raw fear and emotions, the violence and excitement of a zombie tale are what makes them appealing. It is just that without the first element listed above, the story is nothing more than just a gory bloodba ...more
Robin Wiley
Sep 06, 2010 Robin Wiley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zombie
I watched the trailer for the new AMC series, "The Walking Dead", and couldn't wait until Halloween night to get my zombie on, so I'm on a bit of a bender.

"Monster Island"...uh, NO (see my review for details).
"Feed" - LOVED IT! (see my review for details).
"Forest of Hands and Teeth" - Did not love, but I am still thinking about it(see my review for details).

And now, "Plague of the Dead".

This has the most action since "World War Z". The book starts in Setember 2006 with a few emails from two of t
Aug 15, 2012 Evie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm hesitant to write a review for this book. I loved the book, but I'm loathe to trip through a review. My reviews tend to either read like book reports (which no one wants to read) or off target rambling (which no one should read). Despite that, I had to drop a few lines of praise into my 5 star review here.

This book is incredible. It's hard to do something new in the zombie apocalypse genre, and this book isn't anything vastly different from what's out there already. However, I do love the wa
Jan 03, 2015 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zombies
I wanted to like this book, but was never able to like all, or even most, of it. Between a ton of really obnoxious characters, a general lack of knowledge about the military, and horrible dialogue there is a lot that makes this a below average novel. It starts strong, but the middle is a chore to get through.

The characters keep making clueless and stupid choices. No one thinks about saving ammo, or to take heavy equipment with them. They also run around acting like B-grade action movie character
Aug 04, 2014 Joanie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Possibly the worst zombie book in the entire world. The book is written in an extremely annoying style, consisting of a constant narration of what people said and did. "He stood. He said, 'This has to end.' He turned and lifted his hand. He waved. He left the room." This book sucked.
Jun 19, 2015 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great story! I grabbed this on a whim at the library. I knew nothing about this book at it was my first ever zombie novel. A perfect blend of action and survival with a side-serving of zombie horror.

A new virus strain has been discovered, called Morningstar. While scientists meddle in making new discoveries, a few people are soon infected. While nothing is amiss at first, the virus slowly works through it's victims. The strain is very contagious. A bite or scratch is guaranteed to infect
Nov 01, 2014 Kaisersoze rated it liked it
Though it starts promisingly enough, Z. A. Recht's Plague of the Dead quickly descends into standard zombie apocalyptic territory as the U.S. makes every effort to curtail the spread of a virus on the African continent that turns people into slobbering rage-filled monsters, and then once the hosts are dead, returns them to life as shambling zombies, with both forms programmed to do nothing more than spread the virus. This best of both worlds approach (think George Romero and 28 Days Later) is ab ...more
Jul 11, 2012 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2012
3 Stars

Plague of the Dead is a decent book one in a typical post apocalyptic zombie world. This book has much the same feel that The Autumn series by David Moody, but lacks the emotional impact that is delivered by the characters of that series.

""He's a zombie," breathed Julie.
" I suppose by definition he would be," Anna said. "But we at USAMRIID don't use sci-fi terms. We prefer to call him a
Deceased ambulatory viral host."

Hah even in death we have to be PC!

No explanations to the virus are
Jason Bradley Thompson
Although not as bad as Joe McKinney's "Mutated" or Simon Clark's "Stranger," this is a dumb, and worse, boring zombie novel. The twist is that the 'infected' start out as 28 Days Later-style running zombies, but if you shoot 'em in the chest, they revive as Romero-style slow zombies; one hard-to-believe plot thread involves the US government trying to conceal the latter fact past the point of absurdity, hunting whistleblowers even after the zombies have already overrun the US.

The writing is weak
I am a stone cold sucker for zombie stories. I don't care if they're the old school Romero shufflers or the new breed of 28 Days Later style runners, give me a story about the world being overrun by undead flesh eaters, and it makes me happy. This probably says something very disturbing about me.

This is pretty standard stuff. A virus code named Morningstar breaks out in Africa and *gasp* brings the dead back to life with a taste for the living. Efforts at containment fail and soon the entire pla
Oct 31, 2015 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010-reads, zombie, horror
Usually, I can pick the survivors in a zombie novel. It's pretty easy. Just find the ones who aren't written like walking snackpacks, and root for them. In the case of Plague of the Dead, however, it becomes more difficult, as Recht focuses all his attentions on a gruelingly dull point-by-point military description of the initial zombie outbreak, leaving no time to flesh out his characters. His disinterest leads directly to the reader's disinterest... or at least my disinterest. Those more inte ...more
Dan JK
The writing style is just terrible and uninspired. The mechanism for character and story development is based entirely on convenience. The plot is laborious.

In summary this book is a perfect example of genre exploitation.

Thumb if you agree.
Nov 27, 2012 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Woohoo! Finally got a new computer so I can start reviewing books again. And why not start out with a zombie book?

OK, so here's the thing about the zombie apocalypse: I have pretty much decided I am a goner when it happens. I can't shoot a gun, or a bow. I can't change a tire, especially if there were a group of the undead approaching. I don't have more than a few cans of soup and some bottles stored in my basement. (Yowza! I could get by for a week at least!) Heck, I couldn't even survive the R
Robert Beveridge
Z. A. Recht, The Morningstar Strain: Plague of the Dead (Permuted Press, 2006)

The late Zachary Recht died in December of 2009 at the age of twenty-six, leaving behind roughly half of the final book in the Morningstar Strain trilogy. Word on the street is that it will eventually be fleshed out by another author and released by Permuted, with the blessings of Recht's family. Good news indeed, as the Morningstar Strain books are quite a surprise, if you're not familiar with Permuted stuff. A number
Aug 26, 2013 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another mediocre zombie book. Worth reading, but nothing really new or interesting. Starts off promising but has the usual zombie book problems.

Is the only way to write a zombie story to have the characters be brain damaged?(not talking about the zombie characters either). is there no other way to get to the zombies taking over?

as an example... (view spoiler)
Apr 14, 2009 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
_Plague of the Dead_ is, put simply, a zombie outbreak novel similar in many ways to Max Brooks' spectacular _World War Z_. (WWZ is told in a series of interviews while _Plague_ follows a traditional narrative format, but the manner in which the plague spreads and the military's fruitless efforts to contain it are similar.)
_Plague_ has some strong characters and some pretty awesome moments. You got to love a book where a soldier, already bitten and therefore terminal, hangs on to his grenade unt
Layth Gadoui
Sep 19, 2013 Layth Gadoui rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Plague of the Dead was the second book I read this summer. The sequel is Thunder and Ashes. This book explains how the zombie virus starts, and how people reacted to it. Major cities were bombed, and America tried to keep the virus out of the country. It all started in Africa, then to Australia and eventually America. That's when the panic started, and major cities were bombed. General Sherman and his surviving group from Africa and partly America were on a boat coming back to America as the pla

Sirius Scientist
I had heard such good things about this book that the disappointment after having actually started it was crushing. I'm the first to admit my standards where probably higher than normal due to all the hype I'd been exposed to. The story was slow and the plot was somewhat predictable, though I did enjoy the "carrier" to "zombie" turn the author took. The term "carrier" is normally reserved for those creatures who have loss their humanity but remain alive and if that is the route the book takes, t ...more
Oct 26, 2014 Alondra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
3.5 Stars

What a fun read. I love zombie books.

I must say, though, I do NOT like fast zombies. I like my zombies slow and shambling. I don't like a war cry, chase and attack. Let me limp my sorry ass away and hide. I would be too mentally fluffed-up to flat-out, sprint away.

We have 2 groups of survivors to think about in this story, and I really hope they meet up. Each trying to survive and figure out how to stop this plague. I think it is too late for that. Maybe, they should just hope to find a
Susan White-riggs
Zombies, who knew i would like zombie books! It was a good read, in ways it reminds me of World War Z, but then, how much can you change a zombie storyline. WWZ still my fav, but this one is interesting.
Anada Jones
Jan 14, 2015 Anada Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The reason I picked up this book was simple. Zombies fascinate me and scare me at the same time. So when I found myself in Barnes & Noble picking up this book to look at, I never expected what I bought. I expected a book following survivors of a unexplained plague of the living dead, but what I got was a book with several different points of view and an actual explanation behind the zombie-like creatures. I read this book for recreational purposes and I was not disappointed.
Plague of the De
Jun 05, 2014 Nicholas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: zombie/apocalypse enthusiasts
Not the best "zombie" novel ever, but not the worst. Predictable plot twists and shallow, cookie-cutter characters. There are some silly elements that make suspension of disbelief somewhat difficult. Regardless, despite being not very original, it's definitely entertaining - a good beach read, perhaps.

(view spoiler)
Jul 06, 2009 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not much of a horror fan but for some reason I can read zombie books over and over until the covers fall off. This was a really fast read but a pretty cool story. What's always kind of scary about these books is I find the way the authors describe people's mass panic and the break down of big governments to be very realistic. I've read a lot of articles on how this kind of fiction is actually a type of political commentary showing the flaws in society. However, I just read them for a good sc ...more

Mr. Recht elegantly melds the infamous "fast versus slow" schools of zombie thought into one... and it is glorious. Unfortunately, the good stuff is buried 6 feet under the layers of cliché-ridden characters, uninspired encounters, and glaring plot holes.

Plague of the Dead definitely has enough meat on its bones to get me excited for the second novel in the trilogy. We'll see how it holds up!
Dec 17, 2012 Roxy rated it really liked it
This book was well written, and pretty easy to read. In fact I finished it in two evenings. It starts out like most zombie books, with a strange virus that affects humans. The twist here is that you have two types of zombies: the living who have been taken over by the virus, and the reanimated dead. This leads to some interesting strategies. I likes this book enough to want to read the next in the trilogy.
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