Zombie Mage by Jonathan J. Drake

How would you like to wake up one morning only to find out that you are not what you used to be? And that’s just the beginning! There’s more weirdness to come in Jonathan Drake’s latest read.

Shocked to wake up transformed (with his mouth stitched shut, no less) and sitting in a pit of rotten corpses, Olligh spies two men who may be his way out of this hell hole until shots ring out at him. The strangeness continues to abound as Olligh suddenly vanishes but then reappears somewhere else.

Olligh continues to seek help, but his situations go from bad to worse since he can’t talk with his mouth stitched up. It also doesn’t help that he’s immediately earmarked as a hostile decrepit something-or-other that needs to be destroyed.

Is it possible to feel any compassion for a flesh-eating zombie? At least there is that hope with Drake’s protagonist Olligh, who doesn’t appear to have the typical carnivorous cravings.

Constantly confused and wanting answers, Olligh finds himself in one unwelcome and comedic situation after another—until he goes to Ekelton Village where the local barber (a blind one, as a matter of fact) gives him a haircut and snips his stitches.

Olligh discovers his past when the blind barber mentions knowing of an old magician in the village, Olligh Selthnik, who had died two years ago. Better known as Mage Selthnik, the old magician had a wife, Lara, who was the love of his life and who died a few months prior to his death.

It is at that point Olligh knows he has to return to the graveyard and speak to Lara. “Only then would he hope to learn the truth and find a solution to this madness.”

Drake provides zombie enthusiasts with a different take from the norm. Indeed, there is a sinister side to his tale, but not from the zombies. As Olligh comes to terms with who he was in life, memories from his past — and most importantly his powerful incantations — begin to surface.

A combination of clichéd and totally unexpected situations, Drake’s narrative flows seamlessly from one chapter to the next, mainly centered on Olligh’s adventures. He eventually puts two-and-two together that the Dark Cloaks, a religious cult, are the ones behind the Walkers (zombies, mainly flesh-eaters) and the rest of the zombie-like people left in limbo, never able to attain eternal rest.

Olligh discovers a potion used by the Dark Cloaks when he talks to Lara. Then, just as everything begins to fall into place and Olligh figures out the “solution to this madness” (Walkers and limbo zombies), the Dark Cloaks take him captive.

Can Olligh find a way to overtake the Dark Cloaks before it’s too late? Drake employs plenty of twists and turns to keep his audience mesmerized till the very end.

Zombie Mage is a fun and fast-moving tale that comes highly recommended for zombie buffs.

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