Stephen Kozeniewski’s The Ghoul Archipelago is not at all like his previously reviewed Braineater Jones. Where Braineater Jones is a straight shot of adrenaline and action, The Ghoul Archipelago is a sweeping, panoramic view of a world gone mad.
This seafaring novel, initially reminiscent of Heart of Darkness, branches off into various tributaries, including the Reverend Sonntag who attempts to integrate zombies into religion, billionaire Rand Bergeron who hasn’t found a situation he can’t manipulate himself out of, and Captain Henk “Howling Mad” Martigan who discovers zombies are the least of his worries. Needless to say, there’s enough tension, fighting, and crazed ambition to populate a trilogy.
Kozeniewski’s main characters are well drawn and come alive with great dialogue and descriptions. In the midst of the post zombie apocalyptic world, the testosterone level of his mostly male characters fuels plenty of chest thumping, ominous threats, and deadly double crosses. In this world of scoundrels, it’s hard to find someone to root for, but Howling Mad and his men provide an oasis of dysfunctional sanity in an insane world. Summing this complex novel up into a few sentences is impossible, but it all comes together at the end and The Ghoul Archipelago delivers an excellent ending which left this reader satisfied.
Don’t worry, there is plenty of graphic sex, violence, and gore for those of you who demand lots of horror in your horror novel. In this case, Kozeniewski has also added plenty of heart. Check it out on Amazon, it is a story well worth reading.