Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rise of the Governor (The Walking Dead #1)” as Want to Read:
Rise of the Governor (The Walking Dead #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Rise of the Governor

(The Walking Dead (Novels) #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  18,682 ratings  ·  1,859 reviews
Based on "The Walking Dead" graphic novels/comic books and the series starring Andrew Lincoln ("Teachers", "This Life and Love", and "Love Actually") and written/produced by Frank Darabont whose previous credits include "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile", this is a new trilogy of books written by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga, author of "Perfect Victim" an ...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rise of the Governor, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
James Volland These books are solely based on the graphic novels (comics). However; the first 3 books in the series can add some substance to the governor character…moreThese books are solely based on the graphic novels (comics). However; the first 3 books in the series can add some substance to the governor character (and may influence your opinion of him) in the TV series; but remembering that they are not canons of each other and there may be some plot-holes.(less)
World War Z by Max BrooksThe Zombie Survival Guide by Max BrooksThe Walking Dead, Vol. 1 by Robert KirkmanFeed by Mira GrantPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
1,590 books — 4,306 voters
World War Z by Max BrooksZombie Fallout by Mark TufoA Plague Upon Your Family by Mark TufoFeed by Mira GrantThe End by Mark Tufo
Best Zombie Books
1,412 books — 3,029 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,682 ratings  ·  1,859 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Rise of the Governor (The Walking Dead #1)
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this on Goodreads!

When I started this book I had no idea what the book was about. I watched The Walking Dead when it aired last year and I thought it was A-M-Azing. Before I read this book I had to do a little research on "The Governor" because I haven't read the comics and also the show hasn't introduced that character yet. Also keep in mind that I basically only read YA books with a female as the main p.o.v. So with that being said I started the book and all I can say is Wow! The ending
Jason Koivu
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, fiction
Realizing there wasn't enough horror in my reading world and being a fan of The Walking Dead tv show, I figured a book based on the backstory of one of the franchise's most notorious characters was a safe bet for some good reading. I was correct!

Rise of the Governor is wall-to-wall anus-puckering tension and heart-thumping action. The author's workman-like prose powers the story forward at an almost non-stop pace (jesus there's a lot of dashes going on here!) from beginning to end.

And what an en
Anthony Chavez
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
As I have read the first compendium of 48 trade paperbacks that ended the original Governor story arc, I jumped at the chance to pick up this collaboration by series creator Robert Kirkman and horror writer Jay Bonansinga. "The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor" is an amazing idea for a novel or trilogy. I hear that the Governor is one of the series', and even comic books in general, most notorious and loathsome villains, and the notion of exploring his back story is definitely going to be appe ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rise of the Governor was an okay and interesting audio book. The pace was all over the pace to me though. The first half of this book was moving so agonizingly slow for me. It could've been because I was at work and honestly didn't want to be there for 8 hours.. or it could've been that narrator was so meh. I couldn't concentrate long enough in the beginning that I definitely had to back track a couple of times.

Then the action got better. The zombies got crazier and deader (if that's a thing??).
Audiobook- Fabulous narrator*
Omg!!! Shocking twists and truths revealed. if you think you know The Governor you don't till you read this book. He is not who has portrayed himself to be. I think I might have sprained my jaw it dropped so far when I got the truth about who he is. Holy Crisps, I could barely catch my breath.
This first book stats with Phil, his brother Brian, his living daughter and two high school friends. The plague has just driven them from their hometown to search for the safe z
Nov 08, 2011 rated it did not like it
Okay, I am a HUGE zombie fan. I have also been collecting the Walking Dead comic book since issue #2 and when I first heard about this novel, I was excited. Kirkman explores the deeper thoughts/feelings/issues of a z-apocalyptic world via the comic (and now the TV show) and I thought a novel would allow him to really sink his teeth into the material. Also, he has never (not in comics or TV) dealt with the early days of the epidemic.

If you haven't ever read the comic, but are a fan of apocalyptic
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Won in a Goodreads First Reads.


After greatly enjoying the first season of the AMC show and getting deep into the comics, I was looking forward to this. I mean, good zombie novels are far and very few between. They seem to work better as film horrors over novel horrors. Even so, The Walking Dead comics did a wonderful job of transforming the brutality of George Romero zombie flicks into a written media.

This book does NOT follow suit.

Maybe it's due to the fact that it's written in the present
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I might have enjoyed this book much more if I had been a fan of the Walking Dead phenomenon. Some of the fight scenes included way too much medical data. And there are no heroes, this is how inherently bad people survive an apocalypse. Killing zombies becomes so common place that committing atrocities on each other is easier, I guess.
Anyway, I did like the twist at the end so it was worth sticking with it for that. 🤷🏼‍♀️
Patrick D'Orazio
Dec 03, 2011 rated it liked it
The Walking Dead, Rise of the Governor, should be more aptly titled (as mentioned by several other reviewers): The Birth of the Governor. If this book has a sequel, it would tell of the actual rise of the Governor. In fact, I feel that given what this particular book is lacking, there would need to be a sequel to bridge the gap between what we have been introduced to with this story and what we see when Rick, Glenn, and Michonne stumble across Woodbury in the comic books.

While this story wasn't
Ramón S.
Aug 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: worst-books-ever
Disgusting, the authors may think they are a kind of geniuses describing when the character kill zombies 🧟‍♂️. The reading was almost unbearable. Sorry walking dead, I will not read more about you.
Jun 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
As far as prequels go, this rates up there with The Phantom Menace and Batman Begins Kindergarten.
It's slow and boring and adds very little to the Walking Dead narrative. I don't think Kirkman had very much hand in this at all. Another author (Jay Bonansinga) is listed and, unless Kirkman really can't switch mediums (like Orson Scott Card, for example, didn't write a very good Iron Man comic), the fault lies with Bonansinga.
The descriptions use far too many cliches, which detracts from otherwis
Mar 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
I forced myself through this, because it's only about 300 pages long and I wanted to see how it plays out. It's horribly written from the first page, the characters are flat (and the Governor is unrecognizable from the show), the story is meandering and boring. There were about 3 moments in the book that were exciting in that "oh, who will be eaten by a zombie NOW" and "Is this the moment his daughter is gonna die?" kinda way.

Lowlights were definitely the rape scene and how the rape was used as
Chris Greensmith
"A severed ear sticks to the windshield, and Philip puts the wipers on." I went into this series not expecting much, but as I started reading and realised it shared the same continuity as the comic I really began to enjoy it. Although the plot was a bit thin it did work toward fleshing out one of the most brutal villains in the Walking Dead and kept me reading to he end, and the following books, wanting to know more. A good companion to the comic focusing, in depth, where the comic couldn't.. ...more
☆~Stephanie ~☆
I really enjoyed this book a lot ! This book was so much better for me then World War Z ! I can't wait to start the next one will start it tonight .if you haven't read this you should give it a try it was really great book. ...more
Patricia Crowther
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating 4.5*

Wow I feel like such a fool. How did I fall for that one! This was really great. I really enjoyed the Governors back story. It was interesting to see his journey and especially some of the similarities/links to the show.
Okay, so I liked the book. I liked it enough that I plan on reading the rest of the series. I did not however "really" like it or think it was amazing. Hence, the three star rating.

For one, and probably my biggest issue with this book, is how part two of this book played out almost exactly like parts of season four of the show played out. I kept thinking, "Wait, is this a novelization of season four, or is this really the story of way before we ever met the Governor in season three?" Also, it h
Aug 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Walking Dead fans
Well now. That was interesting.

I actually had a bit of a time getting into this one. It didn't have the pace of the comic series (that this is based on), and was written in the present tense. That's a bit jarring for me, though I did get used to it.

Note that this is the backstory of the Governor from the Walking Dead comic book/graphic novel series. It is NOT the backstory of the character by the same name/title in the AMC television series.

As far as a backstory goes, this one is pretty damn goo
Kimberley doruyter
if you seen the show you know how this turns out.
it's good for extra info on the governor, but he is still evil.
his brother is a spineless sack and his friend is a bible crazed dumbo.
for those how have not yet seen the show, the ending is a surprise.

a re-read and i actually liked it a little better then the first time i read it.
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
Not completely sure how to feel about this one. It had many extremely disturbing scenes, so much so that I had to put it down for awhile before picking it back up to finish it. However, the twist at the end did redeem itself a bit. I was not expecting who the Governor turned out to be. I will probably continue in this series, but am gonna take a hiatus for awhile from it.
Charley Girl
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
I listened to this book and it had my heart going. It freaked me out more than the show and I was cruising threw my chores that I was doing because of the adrenaline it made me feel. I gave it a 3 because after awhile, just like the show, I didn't want to go through the cycle of not having any supplies, biters coming, running, someone dies. Start over. Only so much I can take.

The characters are super though! Phillip goes from caring father to one loco muchacho! He lost every marble he ever had a
Oct 03, 2013 rated it liked it
The death of his beloved wife years earlier had already ruined Philip Blake’s life, leaving him with a single purpose: to care for and protect his daughter, Penny. This does not change when the zombie apocalypse hits, but his circle of protection expands to include his two best friends, and, unfortunately, his hapless, sickly brother Brian.

The Governor has been a frightening inclusion in The Walking Dead series, but as with all truly good antagonists, he is not simply mad and/or evil. This tril
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it
This was not what I was expecting. I read the comics long before the show came out, but have since become a fan of the show as well. I occasionally find it hard to remember what happened in which. That sounds a bit silly, but for those of you that read and watch, you know what I mean. Story lines from the comic are revisited in the show but with different characters or timing, names change, but personalities stay the same or even vice-verse. That being said, this was very, very obviously the sto ...more
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zombies
This is an awesome back story that tells how the most bad ass villain of all time came to be. And what the deal was with Penny.Also explains about the beginnings of Woodbury and what goes on there
Now this is it!! Exactly what I needed to get myself out of a reading slump! Now I just need to find the next book in the series >.>
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened 11/26/12 - 12/6/12
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended to fans of The Walking Dead on AMC
Audiobook (9 cd's, 11hrs)
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Narrated by: Fred Berman

I am a total sucker for "companion" reading. Once I get hooked on a tv series, sitting around each week waiting for it to run on its scheduled night soon becomes unbearable. Like a junkie with no idea where my next fix will come from, I seek out ways by which I can keep the buzz alive.

I first remember doing this with The X-Files an
Sep 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Presenting the backstory nobody asked for nor wanted... the Governor! I went in hoping that they wouldn't try to make us feel sympathetic toward him. Frankly, most of the characters are assholes so we're in the clear there. The book starts at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse and follows brothers Phillip and Brian Blake along with Phillip's daughter Penny and their friend Nick. Like most Georgia survivors, they're attempting to find a refugee center in Atlanta. We all know how that goe
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
def would have worked better as a comic. easily could have conveyed the two emotional ranges of every character and saved the reader from about 250 pages of unnecessary description. one star for the ‘twist’ and some kind of not entirely ridiculous explanation for the heads in the fish tanks later on, another star because they all die.
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011-reads

I was a little wary to start this book. Comics and prose novels are such different mediums, and I was suspicious of the success of the idea. Although Bill Willingham’s Fables novel Peter and Max has amazing reviews to back it and the same can be said of Shawn Thorgersen’s rewrite of the American manga series Bizenghast with Bizenghast: the Novel. Sadly, the same cannot be said of this novel, which is pretty much one giant FAIL.

The story
Sue Moro
This book is the first in a trilogy focusing on one of the most controversial characters in The Walking Dead series so far, that of the Governor of Woodbury. He first makes his appearance half way through the graphic novel compendium one, and his story line is just beginning in season three of the television series.

As the story begins, the zombie outbreak has already occurred and people are struggling to survive. Brain Blake and his younger brother, Philip, are traveling with their high school b
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Just Another Day at the Office (The Walking Dead #1.5)
  • Invasion (The Walking Dead #6)
  • The Living Dead (The Living Dead, #1)
  • The Walking Dead: Survivors' Guide
  • Day by Day Armageddon (Day by Day Armageddon,#1)
  • Beyond Exile (Day by Day Armageddon,# 2)
  • Descent (The Walking Dead #5)
  • The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
  • Lockdown
  • Shattered Hourglass (Day by Day Armageddon,#3)
  • Tribesmen
  • The Walking Dead Chronicles
  • Survivors (Morningstar Strain #3)
  • Thunder and Ashes (Morningstar Strain #2)
  • Fire & Rain (The Fearing #1)
  • The Living Dead 2 (The Living Dead, #2)
  • Fighting to Survive  (As The World Dies, #2)
See similar books…
Robert Kirkman is an American comic book writer best known for his work on The Walking Dead, Invincible for Image Comics, as well as Ultimate X-Men and Marvel Zombies for Marvel Comics. He has also collaborated with Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane on the series Haunt. He is one of the five partners of Image Comics, and the only one of the five who was not one of the original co-founders of ...more

Other books in the series

The Walking Dead (Novels) (9 books)
  • The Road to Woodbury (The Walking Dead #2)
  • The Fall of the Governor: Part One (The Walking Dead #3)
  • The Fall of the Governor: Part Two (The Walking Dead #4)
  • Descent (The Walking Dead #5)
  • Invasion (The Walking Dead #6)
  • Search and Destroy (The Walking Dead #7)
  • Return to Woodbury (The Walking Dead #8)
  • Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: Typhoon

Articles featuring this book

You know winter is coming. You don't blink around statues. You're a true believer. When it comes to escapism, you're an expert. To...
80 likes · 21 comments
“It ain’t the dead things you gotta be mindful of around here … it’s the living.” 6 likes
“He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into you. —Nietzsche” 3 likes
More quotes…