Your Brother’s Blood – The Walkin’ Trilogy #1 – David Towsey
Release date: August 29th, 2013
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Age Group: (Young) Adult
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Thomas is thirty-two. He comes from the small town of Barkley. He has a wife there, Sarah, and a child, Mary; good solid names from the Good Book. And he is on his way home from the war, where he has been serving as a conscripted soldier.
Thomas is also dead – he is one of the Walkin’.
And Barkley does not suffer the wicked to live.
If you’re picking up ‘Your Brother’s Blood’ and expect it’s just another zombie novel, then let me tell you: it’s not. Though the Walkin’, as they are called in this book, are basically zombies, this is not a usual zombie story. So don’t wonder if the zombie context has been used too many times or if this book will lack originality, because ‘Your Brother’s Blood’ will show you the theme from a completely different perspective.
Different from many zombie novels, this one is more psychological than action-packed. If you want a break from all the swordfights and space battles, this is the book you should pick up.
‘Your Brother’s Blood’ tells the story of Thomas, a soldier who is killed in battle and wakes up a Walkin’. His family lives in a small town called Barkley. Everyone in Barkley is extremely religious and quite obviously the Walkin’ aren’t tolerated there. Thomas has to decide between returning to hostile Barkley, but see his family again, or go to Black Mountain, a sanctuary for Walkin’. Thomas decides that he can’t leave his family just like that and sets out for Barkley. When the Pastor’s acolyte Luke spots him in Barkley, he is forced to flee with this estranged daughter, Mary.
The father-daughter dynamic between Thomas and Mary was very touching and realistic. Personally I thought this was one of the major plus points of this book. Their interaction always touched a chord. Thomas’ fierce protectiveness and Mary’s complete acceptance of her father, even with parts of him missing, made this relationship really stand out.
As Thomas and Mary are fleeing away from Barkley, the Pastor insists on pursuing and burning them. Four people set out to catch them: Nathaniel, the Gravekeeper; Bellis, the Law-Man; Samuel, Thomas’ younger and very devote brother and Luke, the Pastor’s acolyte. All of these men have their own opinions and personalities to contribute to the group, some of them having a big impact on the end of the story. Nathaniel is a gentle soul who has been struggling with his feelings and the secrets he’s keeping for a long time now. Bellis objects to the task they’re given from the very beginning, but he leaves with the group anyway. Samuel has to represent his family in the search party, but as a reader you can’t help but wonder how he will react when he sees his brother again. Luke, the acolyte, is slightly deranged and a very interesting character to read about.
Luke drove me absolutely insane throughout the entire book and this is testimony to Towsey’s great writing skills. Writing a villain that can drive you nuts, but still make him seem human is a difficult task. Though Luke makes you want to punch him in the face every time he opens his mouth or thinks about what he’d do for the Good Lord, you can’t help but feel sorry for him. The guy is so brainwashed by the Pastor that Luke would do anything if the Pastor told him it would benefit the Good Lord. This makes Luke an easy target and gives the Pastor someone to do his twisted dirty work. So though Luke’s character is a frustrating one to read about, he’s just awfully misguided and I really pitied him in the end.
As an atheist it was sometimes really frustrating to read the lengths people would go to to please their Lord. But yet again this is just great writing. Towsey shows us how people with twisted minds can use religion to rope people in to doing unthinkable things. Their vision of what their religion dictates them to do depends fully on what one man says and what they have been brought up to believe. I thought it was really interesting to see how some people began to question all of this.
The only thing I can remark here is that it felt like a rather short story. Most of the action happened in the last few pages and though the book is far from dull, there is quite a lot of build-up. The book gets its value from the emotional context, not from the action, which is something we’re not really used to in zombie novels.
I’m very glad there is a sequel because this book left me with the feeling that there should have been more. I want to know more about the Walkin’, about Black Mountain and about the future of Barley and Thomas’ family. I’m definitely looking forward to reading ‘Your Servants and Your People’!