Digital image © Lonnie Colson.
As a long-time fan of the science-fiction/horror genre, I always loved a good zombie movie. In recent years, the threat of a Zombie Apocalypse has become something of a running joke around the water cooler at work. Most good southern boys agree the hardest thing will be pretending not to be too excited. Of course, the modern storyline always revolves around having enough guns and ammunition to survive. As a major Medieval enthusiast every time I see a character flailing away at one of the recently un-deceased only to be bitten on an arm or leg and thereby condemned to a similar fate, my mind cannot help but wonder how different the story might be if he were wearing armor. The idea that a knight outfitted in plate armor and wielding a pollaxe might see zombie-killing as 'good sport' somehow brings a smile to my face. And so you can see where my newly-invented genre arose: the pseudo-historical horror adult fiction novel.
The Second Great Mortality was meant to be a short diversion after I became bogged down researching another historical fiction story. I originally intended only to write a scene or two of knights in full armor wading through a horde of zombies, but every story needs an introduction. A few pages quickly exploded into 100, and soon the story had taken on a life of its own.
In the summer of 1348 when a Gascon seaman brought the Plague to the shores of Dorset. In little more than a year's time, it quickly spread to every corner of the realm, killing half of England’s population. Although it would later come to be known as the “Black Death”, contemporary chronicles referred to this pandemic as the “Great Mortality”.
Complete at 93,000 words, The Second Great Mortality reads like historical fiction but with the gruesome aspect of having zombies mixed in.