Review: Strangers in the Land by Stant Litore

Posted December 9th, 2012 in book review / 6 comments

Strangers in the Land

The Zombie Bible Series, #3

by Stant Litore

Publisher: 47North
Genre: Horror, Zombies
Format: eBook (novel length)
Source: Review Request
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 stars)

Summary
The aging prophet Devora bolts awake in terror, gasping for air. In her dream she heard her mother’s shrieks as the ravenous dead pulled her from the tent. Devora had been only a girl then, crying as she listened to her mother’s screams and the tearing of her flesh.

And in the morning, when her mother rose—undead and hungering—Devora slew her.

This third volume of The Zombie Bible takes you to 1160 BC Israel as the walking corpses devour the tents and homesteads of the People. Four will stand against the dead: Devora, who sees what God sees. The slave girl Hurriya. Zadok, a legend among warriors. And the widower Barak, fighting to keep his vineyard free of this new peril. But can they stand together? For the living fear each other—fear the strangers in the land—as much as they fear the hungry dead.

Strangers in the Land brings an episode from the biblical book of Judges to life, fierce and blood spattered. Few will survive the coming of the dead. None will survive unchanged.

At A Glance
Another great installment for The Zombie Bible series. I never knew what to expect which kept me on my toes.

The Good
Don’t Worry…
Let me start off by saying that this is not a religious book. It does not preach in the way you might think. Strangers in the Land takes place in a time where religion and faith was all these people had. So there is religious content but this book does not try to sway your beliefs.

Zombie Art…
Oh. My. God. Must you rip out my heart so savagely, Stant? I turned the last page of Strangers in the Land and felt like I had been chewed up and spit out. You cannot dive into a Stant Litore book without bracing yourself for horror, gore, and heartbreak. But luckily, you also walk away in awe with what this man has put down on paper. It’s like zombie art. How he does it, I will never know.

God’s Voice…
This time around we are taken on a journey with four very different individuals. The main character, Devora, has been chosen as God’s voice. She interprets the visions he sends her and directs her people accordingly. Since most women during this time period are treated like slaves and commodities, I was inspired to see Devora stand up to the archaic men. She believed in herself no matter how much these men tried to belittle her. She wasn’t perfect, but she did her best to lead her people into the dismal war against the zombies. But these men, the northerners, have become no better than barbarians who resist her command and her position. This made for great tension throughout the novel. I respected Devora for her faith and her determination to try to save everyone. She has a big heart despite her horrific past.

The Warrior…
Zadok, the warrior, was one of the most interesting characters. His dedication to protecting Devora is admirable and endearing. Slowly it is revealed how they had come to know each other and the story is heartbreaking. Their friendship is very complicated for Devora is married to a wonderful man, but Zadok’s love for her is just as beautiful. But Zadok has a dark past that haunts him everyday. I simply wanted to cry for the pain he carries and relives so often. He was my hero in this book.

The Widower…
I wanted to hate Barak, the northern widower. His family’s death has made him a cold man. He thinks little of women and even less of Devora. His relationship with God has also taken a hit. He wants to be a leader for his people, but how can he keep their respect when Devora thinks he must follow her orders, ones she has received from God? Men don’t follow orders from women. But through the journey of zombie slaying with Devora at his side, he starts to question his barbaric ways of thinking. For Devora shows that she can be as strong and brave as any man.

The Heathen…
But it’s Hurriya who I felt the worst for. She is a heathen who comes to Devora asking her to save her baby who has become one of the undead. Hurriya is greeted with hate by people of the village, leers from the men around her, and little mercy from Devora. And though Devora does what’s best, Hurriya cannot help but hate her for her decisions and faith. Hurriya has had the life of the average women at this time. There is nothing that has not been done to her, and now her baby is gone. She feels like their is little left to live for. But Devora takes Hurriya under her wing. I found the relationship these two ended up having fascinating. Hurriya begins this novel as a broken woman but ends it having gained strength and courage, prompting even Devora to become a better person.

Four Against Many…
These four people go on a journey hoping to stop the zombies from devouring their villages. They face more horror, gore, and death than any one person can handle. But along the way they learn to be better people. People with courage when faced with evil and death. Despite their disputes, they also learn to work together to fight for their people’s right to live in peace, without the threat of the undead coming to ravage their homes and families.

If you want to read a zombie book with depth, then this is the book for you. The writing is elegant and lyrical as it is frightening. The plot was well developed and the pacing was spot on.

The Bad
The Historical Note in the beginning was annoying and way too long. I stopped reading right away and didn’t pick up the book for a couple days.

I left Strangers in the Land pretty depressed and sad, more so than from the other books. Maybe my frame of mind wasn’t quite ready to read this book.

Though I liked the characters, they often made terrible, stupid decisions, mostly because of their beliefs, and it just turned me off.

The Snuggly
There is some mild sexual situations but also a scene with sexual assault, so be prepared.

Final Thoughts
Stant knows how to write a devastating but compelling book. He doesn’t hold back on anything. This is a different kind of read that everyone needs to experience at least once. Very recommended.

Quote
For the first time, the northener’s voice deepened with awe. “We haven’t seen you in the north, but we’ve heard. They say a nazarite knows no trade but the spear. They say he fights like ten men.”

“They are wrong,” Zadok said firmly. “I fight like twenty.”

“Ha!” The northener slapped his thigh in appreciation and pointed at the nazarite. “I like you too.”

The Zombie Bible Series:
Book #1: Death Has Come Up Into Our Windows
Book #2: What Our Eyes Have Witnessed
Book #3: Strangers in the Land

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6 Responses to “Review: Strangers in the Land by Stant Litore”

  1. Julie H.

    Sounds great! I love zombie stories…well if they’re worth reading. This one looks worth checking out. Great review and thanks for the recommendation!

  2. The Readingista

    I love zombie reads. I have seen this series on the web, but this is the first time that I have had the chance to read a review. Thank you for the insight. I will look into the first installment.

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