Review of Scott M. Baker’s “Rotter World”
Rotter World starts out in the post apocalyptic environs of Maine, where a group of survivors that have set up a safe haven and are asked to go after a small group trapped and surrounded by zombies out in the wastelands by their leader, which is a far more dangerous undertaking than normal. But they soon discover why they’ve been asked to take such a risk when they conduct the rescue and recover a doctor who claims to have created a vaccination for the undead virus. This virus was created by the government but was never intended to be used as a weapon…at least not until vampires stole it and unleashed it upon the human world with the hopes of preventing the living from wiping them out for good.
Among these survivors is a small band of vampires who have made a truce with the humans. Their race did unleashed the virus, not realizing that the zombies created with the plague would crave vampire flesh as much as human and proceed to find root out the vamps when they were at their most vulnerable-during daylight hours while they sleep. Now the few that remain must work side by side with those they once considered to be cattle to avoid going extinct.
The rescued doctor proposes a mission for the survivors. He needs to get to his government lab in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to retrieve his research and craft the initial doses of the vaccine. They survivors will serve as his escort through rotter infested lands. They agree but insist that most of the vamps go along with them despite the fact that the doctor, along with his military escort, despise the vampire race and would like nothing more than to see them all wiped out for the curse they unleashed on humanity.
Rotter World starts out at a slow pace, with plenty of flashbacks to get the reader up to speed with most of the characters, then picks up speed as the mission to Gettysburg gets underway. The action is intense and the gore graphic enough to satisfy most zompoc fans. The conflicts between the humans and vamps are interesting, but I wished they had been explored in great depth. The vamps in this story are, for lack of a better word, honorable. They avoid causing conflicts with the humans and tend to avoid getting near anyone who don’t trust them or even hates them. It would have been interesting to see more of the dark side of the blood suckers, even though there is plenty of human drama to deal with in this tale. As is the case with most quality zombie tales, the flesh eaters are a nightmarish menace but they are nothing compared to the few devious humans who tend to cause far more trouble than the undead ever could for the rest of the survivors.
I enjoyed this story, especially toward the end when things got quite intense and the danger everyone was facing felt tangible and made my heart race. The author offers up a creative new twist on the traditional zombie tale with the introduction of another undead race. Plenty of the human and vampire characters were well developed and gave me someone to root for (and to root against). The story can certainly stand on its own though I suspect the author will be crafting a sequel, which won’t elicit any complaints from me-I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next with those who made it through to the last page of Rotter World.