A somewhat Darker and EdgierStar Wars horror novel by Joe Schreiber that utilises one of the horror genre's most beloved elements - zombies. Aboard the Imperial Prison Barge Purge, the engines break down in the middle of nowhere. Only place to repair them is a seemingly-deserted Star Destroyer nearby. After a team is sent over to find the parts half of them go missing, and the other half bring back a deadly and seemingly-incurable plague to the rest of the guards and inmates.Zombies ensue.The story follows six characters - young brothers Trig and Kale Longo, resident doctor and sole female occupant Zahara Cody, sadistic Captain of the Guard Jareth Sartoris and Han Solo and Chewbacca, who are found halfway through the novel locked in solitary confinement. Together they attempt to escape Purge without succumbing to the ravenous horde of the undead that is roaming both the barge and the nearby Destroyer.It was followed up by a prequel, Red Harvest, which delves into the origins of the virus thousands of years ago at a Sith Academy.
Ax-Crazy: The zombies, to the point that they learn how to use rudimentary weapons and even get as far as flying X-Wings before they're halted.
Not Using the Zed Word: Averted. Han Solo uses it once, but it's within the last ten pages after everyone's escaped.
Our Zombies Are Different: Oh boy is there ever. Major spoiler alerts ahead: While not necessarily fast, they are by no means slow. Unlike most zombie outbreaks, this one is airborne, and it seems less than 1 in 100 are immune, as in a prison barge with 500 prisoners and an unknown amount of crew, only 4 people are immediately immune. Get bitten and immunity means jack. Shooting them in the head does not kill them. The zombie does not need to have to have died from the virus to reanimate. The fact the virus seems to be SENTIENT, alluding to a virus that is possibly force sensitive. Last, but not least, they LEARN. Oh boy do they learn, seeing as how they go from not knowing how to fire a blaster to deadly accurate within minutes. An antibody can actually be made, preventing you from getting infected from the airborne virus (though possibly immunity from bites as well, we never see someone with the antivirus get bitten). Finally, unlike most outbreaks, if they get too far from the source of the virus, they die.
The Virus: The reason all but six of Purge's occupants become undead. Turns out to be a new bioweapon developed by Imperial R n D that gets way out of hand.
Always Save the Girl: Appears to be subverted when it is assumed that Zahara has died, but it then turns out the corpse they thought was hers just belonged to an underfed, girly-looking Imperial cannibal.
And I Must Scream: Pretty much everything that happens once the security team returns from the Star Destroyer. Screaming is also used by the zombies as something of a communicative measure between them.
Apocalypse How: Initially a Type 3, with everyone except the six protagonists either dead or zombified, but then moves into a Type 3A when it turns out the virus was manufactured as a bioweapon by the Empire.
Dual Wielding: At one point, Zahara does this with syringes in order to administer an antivirus to an already-zombified victim. It only works temporarily, but she gets a computer password out of him before he turns back.
Heroic Sacrifice: Sartoris jumps off the lifter used to save Trig, Han and Chewie, down to a hoard of literally thousands of zombies, just so the lifter has enough weight and thrust to escape. It helped that he was slowly being zombified.
The Immune: Implied with all of the main characters. It's a natural occurrence, although less than one in a hundred are immune. However, Zahara makes an antivirus from her blood, just in case.
Infant Immortality: Averted in a very gruesome way when an infant Wookiee is devoured by its parents. It's off-page, but jeez...
Kick the Dog: Trig and Kale find the only escape pod remaining onboard. Just as they are about to enter it they are cornered by Sartoris, who threatens both of them (keeping in mind Trig is merely 13 years old) with a mouthful of blaster bolts if they take the pod. He then uses it to escape himself. First he kills their dad, then he leaves them to die at the hands of the ravenous undead. What a dick.
Meaningful Name: Meta example: The writer is Joe Schreiber- which, incidentally, is archaic German and Yiddish for writer (not in modern German though).
Mercy Kill: Trig is forced to do this to Kale after he becomes a zombie.
No OSHA Compliance: As always for a Star Wars story, there are rail-less catwalks above bottomless chasms in the Star Destroyer. Here, however, the threat of the drop is enough to make Trig seek an alternate route.
Once Is Not Enough: Subverted. When a zombie is discovered in the escape craft and gets shot, Zahara is smart enough to keep the blaster on it — not that it matters, since when they reach a certain distance from the source of the virus, the zombie dies naturally. Still, points for trying.
Vasquez Always Dies: Rare gender-flipped example: Kale, the more spirited, proactive, generally pretty Badass Longo gets his face half blown off and turned into a zombie; Trig, the more useless, tag-along brother, survives
Heroic Sacrifice: The HK droid who was acting as Scabrous' valet pulls one of these near the end of the novel. He jumps out of the Mirocaw onto the academy's central tower which was being swarmed by nearly every zombified sith on the planet and turns turbolasers on the tower, destroying himself along with it.