Monster Island

A zombie trilogy by David Wellington, originally available as online serials and now in print. Can still be read for free here.

Once upon a time, there was a United Nations weapons inspector named Dekalb who one day found himself imprisoned, along with his young daughter, Sarah, by a Somali warlord. In exchange for his daughter's safety, he agrees to go on a mission to New York City to retrieve AIDS medication for the ailing warlord, along with her soldiers... who also happen to be teenage girls. Oh, and the entire world has also been engulfed by a zombie plague of unknown origins, so there's that. Along the way, they meet Gary Fleck, (not quite) MD, a man who found a way to retain intelligence as a zombie, who tags along for... a while. Now it's simply a matter of getting to the UN building and not getting eaten.

Hordes of flesh eating monsters, an ineffectual government worker, a small army of child soldiers, and a zombie doctor: naturally, everything will work out just fine.

Consists of:
  • Monster Island
  • Monster Nation: A prequel, which deals with the source of the plague.
  • Monster Planet: A Time Skip sequel, focusing on Sarah and Ayaan's battle against the liches twelve years later.

This series provides examples of:

  • Bilingual Bonus: Make sure to have your Somali <-> English dictionary handy, because there might be some important things revealed...
  • Elite Zombie: The liches and their myriad of special abilities: telepathy, mind control, possession, mass fungal growth...
  • Emergency Transformation: Dekalb, having been mortally wounded by a zombie, chooses to hook himself up to life support and become a lich rather than be given a mercy killing, so he can ensure that Gary doesn't try to take over the world again.
  • I Am What I Am: Initially, Gary tries to act like a normal human. However, his instincts eventually win over and after supposedly being killed by his human party, he begins to identify with the undead.
  • Life Energy: What the zombies are really after.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: "Normal" zombies compared to liches, especially when said lich can summon an entire army of zombies (even at a distance) to force them to do their bidding, including using them as portable communication devices.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: In addition to the standard mindless zombies, we also get liches— people who maintained supply of oxygen to their brains during their transformation, and also develop a grab bag of supernatural powers for some reason. Then there are the mummies, and the ghost zombies...
  • Stages of Monster Grief: Probably safe to assume that Dekalb went through this.
  • Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere: Gary's stint as the team medic was... short lived.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: "I have a right to exist!"
  • Zombie Apocalypse: No, for real.
  • The Necrocracy: The Tsarevich's cult. Not too malevolent, either, specially considering the Gray and Gray/Black and Gray nature of the setting