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De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against The Zombies Of Armorica

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This time, the isolated farmhouse is a Roman villa. A recovered Latin text tells the story of a struggle between Roman legionaries and the undead in 185 AD. Lucius Artorius Castus leads an expedition to Gaul to defeat a rebellion against the rule of the Emperor Commodus - and gets more than he bargained for when his enemies rise from the dead to fight again. The power of the This time, the isolated farmhouse is a Roman villa. A recovered Latin text tells the story of a struggle between Roman legionaries and the undead in 185 AD. Lucius Artorius Castus leads an expedition to Gaul to defeat a rebellion against the rule of the Emperor Commodus - and gets more than he bargained for when his enemies rise from the dead to fight again. The power of the zombie horde is amplified by the chaos of Ancient Rome's competing religions and superstitions, and the terror the undead bring in their wake foreshadows the incipient medieval darkness already creeping into the world at the end of Rome's Antonine age. Richly annotated, this mashup of survival horror and alternate history takes the reader on a bracing journey into one of ancient Rome's dark corners.


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This time, the isolated farmhouse is a Roman villa. A recovered Latin text tells the story of a struggle between Roman legionaries and the undead in 185 AD. Lucius Artorius Castus leads an expedition to Gaul to defeat a rebellion against the rule of the Emperor Commodus - and gets more than he bargained for when his enemies rise from the dead to fight again. The power of the This time, the isolated farmhouse is a Roman villa. A recovered Latin text tells the story of a struggle between Roman legionaries and the undead in 185 AD. Lucius Artorius Castus leads an expedition to Gaul to defeat a rebellion against the rule of the Emperor Commodus - and gets more than he bargained for when his enemies rise from the dead to fight again. The power of the zombie horde is amplified by the chaos of Ancient Rome's competing religions and superstitions, and the terror the undead bring in their wake foreshadows the incipient medieval darkness already creeping into the world at the end of Rome's Antonine age. Richly annotated, this mashup of survival horror and alternate history takes the reader on a bracing journey into one of ancient Rome's dark corners.

30 review for De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against The Zombies Of Armorica

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ozymandias

    So I came onto this book after reading the author’s excellent The Last Days of Jericho. While a completely different hook, the book takes the same basic approach: seize upon a historical event and then bring in horror elements in a way that seems believable to the setting. This time zombies. Zombies and Romans, what could go wrong? Well the difficulty here is that the book really doesn’t take the time to do anything interesting with it. The whole thing is over in eighty pages and all that we get So I came onto this book after reading the author’s excellent The Last Days of Jericho. While a completely different hook, the book takes the same basic approach: seize upon a historical event and then bring in horror elements in a way that seems believable to the setting. This time zombies. Zombies and Romans, what could go wrong? Well the difficulty here is that the book really doesn’t take the time to do anything interesting with it. The whole thing is over in eighty pages and all that we get from it is a replay of Night of the Living Dead. If you’re going to steal, you might as well steal from the best I suppose. But the thing is that Night of the Living Dead is really such an outdated movie at this point. Having a zombie story that takes place entirely inside a house is not exactly thrilling. And as a book lacks the budgetary restrictions of a B-movie that’s all the more disappointing. What kept that film going was that we’d never seen anything like it before. That film was the first of its kind. To a certain degree, the book tries to reproduce that novelty by giving us a Roman viewpoint that tries to explain it in terms of druidic curses, miasmas, and vengeful gods. This is all new to them and that does lead to some interesting concepts. But it’s never new to us and that’s really where a book needs to be original. At this point, how much drama can be milked out of ‘man been bit and is sick so we’ll bring him inside’? We all know what happens. And the Roman edge of ruthlessness means we get none of the drama that comes from ‘but can we really kill a man just because he might turn’? Yes. Yes you can. Immediately and without hesitation. So where’s the tension? I’m also not sure how effective the framing mechanism was. The idea is that this is a recently uncovered manuscript, a common idea in such books but one that gets taken far more seriously than seems advisable. We get a long introduction outlining the discovery of the work in a pseudo-scholarly fashion and then we get a mass of footnotes expanding on ideas that are not evident from the text. There are over a hundred of these footnotes and I don't think they add anything to the text. I mean, what is their purpose? To establish a sense of reality? It's overkill. To add details Castus wouldn't? Is the short story really complex enough for that? It’s odd to note too, that while the book is in general very well researched the title is completely wrong. It literally translates as “Ghosts from the War”. It should be De Bello Lemuribus or De Bello Contra Lemures. I think ultimately the problem was that the book just was never that exciting. It had a cool idea, sure, but it never embraced the setting. What do we get here that we didn’t in Night of the Living Dead? Only the Romans. And the druid curse I suppose. But that’s not original enough to cover for an exceedingly generic zombie plot. The shortness of the book just makes it worse. Just when it starts to use the setting to its advantage, with Castus and his men seeking out zombies throughout the province, the book, like this review, abruptly ends.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Keith Currie

    Night of the Living Dead set in Roman Gaul - a one joke tale, told with semi authentic footnotes and a bow in the direction of the legend of King Arthur. The problem is that it ends before it has properly begun. Given the convincing scholarly introduction and notes, the inaccurate Latin title is a bit of a surprise: De Bello Lemurum, maybe, or De Bello Lemurico, perhaps?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marvin

    De Bello Lemures is a brief but enjoyable read. The Ancient Roman Empire setting offers a unique twist to the usual hack-and-slack zombie tale but there is still plenty of hacking and slashing to be found. Subtitled "The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica", the novella is purported to be a document by Roman centurion Lucius Artorius Castus. The "translator" Thomas Brookside does a nice job setting the atmosphere and even includes official sounding footnotes to create an authentic look. Ov De Bello Lemures is a brief but enjoyable read. The Ancient Roman Empire setting offers a unique twist to the usual hack-and-slack zombie tale but there is still plenty of hacking and slashing to be found. Subtitled "The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica", the novella is purported to be a document by Roman centurion Lucius Artorius Castus. The "translator" Thomas Brookside does a nice job setting the atmosphere and even includes official sounding footnotes to create an authentic look. Overall, this is a nice bit of entertainment for the Zombie fans.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    This was a quick story to read on my kindle over the course of an afternoon. Overall, this book isn't bad -- there are some decent action sequences, and the descriptions are pretty good. There are a lot of Latin and Greek words thrown in to keep up the "authenticity" facade, so I found myself going to the annotations frequently. I like the idea of an ancient text having a zombie tie-in, but I guess I'm too analytical and familiar with the current zombie culture to say that this book is very origi This was a quick story to read on my kindle over the course of an afternoon. Overall, this book isn't bad -- there are some decent action sequences, and the descriptions are pretty good. There are a lot of Latin and Greek words thrown in to keep up the "authenticity" facade, so I found myself going to the annotations frequently. I like the idea of an ancient text having a zombie tie-in, but I guess I'm too analytical and familiar with the current zombie culture to say that this book is very original. The trend seems to be "something + zombies = automatic success!", and I'm worried that this will soon be way overdone, if it isn't already.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ben Kane

    Short, but sweet. Well written, and more enjoyable than I would have expected. I wanted it to be a lot longer than it was. The first few chapters of the author's other novel that were included were also good. Short, but sweet. Well written, and more enjoyable than I would have expected. I wanted it to be a lot longer than it was. The first few chapters of the author's other novel that were included were also good.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    The "Zombie Attacks!" genre usually doesn't interest me, but I read this and liked it. The author throws in some nice historical references and it shows that he did some research. The "Zombie Attacks!" genre usually doesn't interest me, but I read this and liked it. The author throws in some nice historical references and it shows that he did some research.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jason Golomb

    The concept of the zombie horror genre is quite simple: the dead come "alive" in sort of a sleep-walking-must-feed-on-any-living-thing trance; they attack in any way they can; they bite, they gnaw, they claw; the only way they're stopped (generally speaking) is to physically remove their heads from their bodies. The genre master George Romero placed his "Night of the Living Dead" in a rural farm. Not unlike Jason Vorthees' Crystal Lake, a dark forboding rural America has become the standard beare The concept of the zombie horror genre is quite simple: the dead come "alive" in sort of a sleep-walking-must-feed-on-any-living-thing trance; they attack in any way they can; they bite, they gnaw, they claw; the only way they're stopped (generally speaking) is to physically remove their heads from their bodies. The genre master George Romero placed his "Night of the Living Dead" in a rural farm. Not unlike Jason Vorthees' Crystal Lake, a dark forboding rural America has become the standard bearer location for hardcore scary (think about the chainsaw massacre in Texas, Mel Gibson's farmhouse in "Signs", the space frontier in "Alien", or M. Night Shyamalan's "Village"). Now move that rural location to Europe in the late 2nd Century A.D. And swap out your town sherriffs for Roman soldiers. What you have is Thomas Brookside's exquisitely creative "De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica". Brookside's role within his story is translator of an ancient document, recently discovered to contain a hidden text. "De Bello Lemures" is the published version of this text originally written by Lucius Artorius Castus. Without giving too much away, Castus has been assigned to move troops from Brittania, and put down a rebel uprising on the mainland. While he's mostly successful, let's just say that the rebels who are 'put down', don't stay down. Also, Artorius, it's suggested, is one of the real life characters upon which the legend of King Arthur is based. Brookside does a nice job of subtly working this into his story. Brookside hits a home run with this self-published 100-page story by thoroughly commiting to presenting the story as a genuine Roman manuscript. The translator's introduction analyzes the document's discovery and provenance, even delving into the fact that if it were fiction, it would've been produced hundreds of years before the first "proto-novels" were written. Brookside includes numerous footnotes throughout the story enhancing the understanding of the Roman world through translation and cultural analysis. Brookside's writing is smooth, and he's nailed the perfect tone that blends "ancient manuscript" with blood-and-gore zombie storytelling. I highly recommend this terrific offering and look forward to more in this new horror sub-genre from Brookside.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tonari

    Three years ago I noticed this book in the Amazon store and thought "It would nice to have a kindle to read it..." Then I bought the kindle, but I forgot about this work (sometimes it came to my mind like "Uh yeah! I have still to read that! But let me finish this one first...") Now it's finally here and what can I say? It's a very nice story, the author is using the old literary tri ck where he claim himself to be the editor and translator of the real writing which is attributed to Lucius Artoriu Three years ago I noticed this book in the Amazon store and thought "It would nice to have a kindle to read it..." Then I bought the kindle, but I forgot about this work (sometimes it came to my mind like "Uh yeah! I have still to read that! But let me finish this one first...") Now it's finally here and what can I say? It's a very nice story, the author is using the old literary tri ck where he claim himself to be the editor and translator of the real writing which is attributed to Lucius Artorius Castus, thought by many to be the real figure behind the legendary King Arthur. The commander here is involved in a strange battle against what he calls "lemures", spirits coming back from the afterworld entering dead bodies... in short, zombies! Writing is very good, the author (the real one, Thomas Brookside) makes use of footnotes to explain terms and cross references, as a scholar would do in translating a real latin writing. They can slow the reading a little bit, but for me it was not a big problem. The main flaw is the length! The book is best described as a "long short story" more than a novel. That's too bad, I would have enjoyed an overall war of the empire against zombies, a rewriting of history as we know it... Just a final note: I don't remember much latin, but I think that the grammar of the title is wrong. "The war of the lemures" should be something like "De bello lemurum", in the genitive case.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Neale

    The Lord protect us from zombie mash-up novels - and self-published ones at that! But here's a thing. This book is really fun. Zombies in Ancient Rome? Why not? I came upon it quite by chance, and was taken at once by its deliciously pedantic faux-academic introduction. It's not a long book, thankfully - much of its length is taken up with Penguin Classics style footnotes. But it's a hoot! The author, Thomas Brookside, has also published a cod-Shakespearian play about the revenge of Shylock, and The Lord protect us from zombie mash-up novels - and self-published ones at that! But here's a thing. This book is really fun. Zombies in Ancient Rome? Why not? I came upon it quite by chance, and was taken at once by its deliciously pedantic faux-academic introduction. It's not a long book, thankfully - much of its length is taken up with Penguin Classics style footnotes. But it's a hoot! The author, Thomas Brookside, has also published a cod-Shakespearian play about the revenge of Shylock, and a biblical horror novel about Joshua, in which 'God' is, I believe, a kind of Lovecraftian monster. This man is seriously brilliant. I hope he sticks at it...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rhianna Schoonover

    Romans, Zombies & King Arthur (the real one). Who could possibly dislike this book? The author does a fairly decent review of some of the archaeological evidence for an actual Arthur, or at least the one that gave rise to the myth. He also weaves the story into that character's life and times with a passable hand. I enjoy archaeology, I enjoy history, I enjoy zombies. Combine the three and you've got a book I'll read & most probably enjoy. Romans, Zombies & King Arthur (the real one). Who could possibly dislike this book? The author does a fairly decent review of some of the archaeological evidence for an actual Arthur, or at least the one that gave rise to the myth. He also weaves the story into that character's life and times with a passable hand. I enjoy archaeology, I enjoy history, I enjoy zombies. Combine the three and you've got a book I'll read & most probably enjoy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    I enjoyed De Bello Lemures. I would have to agree with some of the other reviews that I read that it was too short, I would love to see Brookside expand the story into a full novel. The story was fast paced and while pretty much a standard zombie story the setting refreshed it. This is well worth the couple of bucks to download it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    F.

    This is a great book! It is written as an alternate history from the perspective of a Roman Officer in Gaul who puts down an uprising of barbarians but then must deal with Zombies. Very unique, and for the most part very well written in such a way as to mimic much of the written style at the time. My only complaint is that it wasn't long enough. This is a great book! It is written as an alternate history from the perspective of a Roman Officer in Gaul who puts down an uprising of barbarians but then must deal with Zombies. Very unique, and for the most part very well written in such a way as to mimic much of the written style at the time. My only complaint is that it wasn't long enough.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Fear

    I liked this a lot. Romans meet Zombies with king Arthur thrown it. It's written as an academic translation of a lost Latin text and carries it off very well. The zombie story is pretty standard, but the classical touches are nice and the use of Artorius Castus intriguing. It's short - I read it in a sitting and I strongly recommend it I liked this a lot. Romans meet Zombies with king Arthur thrown it. It's written as an academic translation of a lost Latin text and carries it off very well. The zombie story is pretty standard, but the classical touches are nice and the use of Artorius Castus intriguing. It's short - I read it in a sitting and I strongly recommend it

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    In honor of Friday the 13th coinciding with a sort of Roman Halloween, I read a zombie short story. Pretty fun fake scholarship at the beginning. Spoiler: the Zombies vs Legionnaires ultimate outcome is unresolved when the manuscript ends.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

    Una variante muy interesante a la narrativa zombie romeresca. No cabe duda que un género no se acaba... Una nueva versión a la historia del Rey Arturo? Si se dejan llevar por la fantasía no lean la nota 117!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    This reads quite like translated Latin. It sent me back many years to my Latin classes. At times that made it slow for me to read, as that aspect was distracting, and I could always get lost in the generous footnotes. But I'll definitely read more by this author. This reads quite like translated Latin. It sent me back many years to my Latin classes. At times that made it slow for me to read, as that aspect was distracting, and I could always get lost in the generous footnotes. But I'll definitely read more by this author.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jacqui Bailey

    Short, but I liked it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Spotted on Miriam's to-read list Spotted on Miriam's to-read list

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maxi Bolongaita

    Holy hellfire, this was amazing. I loved it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Max Balestra

    Very funny, original and well researched. A breath of fresh air in the current zombie-mania.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andre

    This was a fun, brief, and entertaining read. Very much in the vein of Pride, prejudice, and Zombies.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Yoel ben Yehuda

    Good. Would have been better had it not been fiction imitating non fiction imitating fiction...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Wiedman

  24. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

  25. 4 out of 5

    James

  26. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  27. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beno

  29. 4 out of 5

    Moisés Musashi

  30. 4 out of 5

    Honane

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