The Lazarus Initiative was meant to be finished. The research lost, the terrible creatures it created, destroyed. A city was wiped out to make sure of it. But its legacy lives on. Deep in the belly of the super tanker Ulysses, a scientific city seeks to recreate the project that brings its unwitting subjects back from the dead. Corralled in a steel pit, The Risen wait for the sign from their Necromancer, a master who is thought to have died with the science that made him. Then, one night, The Risen hear his call.
Necromancer is the second of 3 books in the Necropolis Rising series. The Necropolis Rising series, UK Number 1 Best Sellers, are written by British author Dave Jeffery. Dave lives in Worcestershire with his family and is the author of over 14 novels via many different publishers though the Necropolis Rising series was released through Severed Press.
The first in the series, just called Necropolis Rising, was a good story. I enjoyed it, especially the character depth. You can read that review here. Another thing I enjoyed about the first book is the willingness of the author to bring a big character in, have him progress the story at speed and then, just as quickly, despatch of them. This circle of death gives great tension and suspense as you really don’t know who, if anyone, will survive each encounter.
If you have not read Necropolis Rising, I suggest you do, and be aware the below will contain spoilers!
We left our heavily depleted team on the run. They managed to rescue Thom. They lost nearly everyone in the process. For Suzie, she did lose everyone. She lost Kevin O’Connell and he was all that mattered to her. Her only reason to continue was a final promise to Kev, to keep Thom safe and away from those who would look to use him as a weapon.
So Thom is special – we know that. We know he is immune to the infection. We also know that the testing by The Lazarus Initiative had left him changed. Somehow he had become connected to the undead. He could hear them, feel them and, had the ability to control them. Not in a forceful way – it was strangely parental. The connection went both ways, you see. The undead could also hear and feel Thom and looked to him for help and instruction. Like The Lord of the Undead or maybe just a father.
As you will imagine, this skill set leaves Thom as desired by those who would look to use him. As you may expect Thom isn’t too keen on being tested and used in any untoward experiments. He hides and stays off the grid thanks to Suzie and Gaz, the remaining survivors from Kevin O’Connell’s team. Thom is young and naïve whereas Suzie and Gaz are skilled operators so it appears to be a case of them babysitting Thom Everett but things are strained.
Gaz is getting angry and restless, Thom feels guilty for Gaz and Suzie giving up their lives while he also struggles to come to terms with what happened to him. Suzie is growing more desperate as she sees their small team growing apart. She fears not being able to fulfil her promise to Kev more than anything else.
Still, all is well now. The undead were all destroyed when the military had to blow up the city containing them. Thom remembers it well. He felt the pain of the undead as they were obliterated. It nearly broke him completely. With no undead everything is fine and they all lived happily ever after. Of course not…….
You can’t keep a bad experiment down so we soon find out about a super tanker, The Ulysses. Somewhere out at sea the experiment continues. It has changed slightly, at least in regards to personal. With the death of Whittington, the original scientist and mastermind behind The Lazarus Initiative, the project should be long dead but it turns out he had a daughter. A daughter who just happens to also be a geneticist and had ditched her family name. Doctor Cope.
With Thom’s changes known to The Lazarus Initiative investors, they refunded the project on-board The Ulysses with Dr Cope at the helm. Necromancer is a book of relatives and Dr Whittington is not the only one who has a sibling. It turns out Thom has a sister. A sister he doesn’t know about as she was given up for adoption at birth. A pivotal person who would have the same genetic make up as Thom. The experiment survives, as does one other important thing, or things.
It turns out that in the belly of The Ulysses, there is a containment facility. In that facility, floating around the ocean, The Lazarus Initiative also has a horde of zombies. They are subdued, and with that coupled with Thom trying to keep his mind closed, neither Thom or the undead are aware of each other. Yet.
As Thom, Gaz and Suzie fall further apart, Thom loses his control and for the first time in a long time, he connects with the dead. Thom is back on the grid and the Initiative are coming for him so he decides to run away and leave Suzie and Gaz to get on with their lives. That doesn’t wash with Suzie or Gaz, who are also out hunting for Thom.
As Thom’s game of hide and seek nears completion, with the good and bad guys converging, a second story line is also reaching high levels of danger. Thom’s sister, Jennifer, is on The Ulysses as Doctor Cope attempts to make a Thom version 2. The undead are no longer subdued, in fact they are very much active as they decide they need to get to their newly reconnected leader. When tests on Jennifer appear to be working, things on the boat go downhill very quickly. Jennifer wants off and she wants to take her newly connected friends with her and to hell with anyone who tries to stop them.
The end result is two separate end games, one with Jennifer and one with Thom, that are explosive and disastrous for pretty much everyone involved. Will anyone survive this time? Will they all be dead or just undead? You will have to read it to find out.
Much like the first story, Necromancer is well written and reasonably exciting to read. Dave Jeffery’s style of running multiple story lines that slowly start to weave together is really enjoyable. There are plenty of horrific deaths and gory descriptions of those deaths to satisfy the horror side of things too.
The real win again though is the characters. Suzie, Gaz, Tomes, Jennifer – they are all crafted meticulously. They are really carefully detailed both physically and psychologically making it very easy to connect with them. That is extremely important, especially as he also seems completely happy to dispose of them at any moment. It is always at the right time, but, with you not knowing when, it adds a nice level of suspense to each page.
To pick up a copy of Necromancer click on the links below or visit the authors own website. You can pick up digital or physical copies, or both. Check out Dave Jeffery at his website, Facebook or Twitter for more information on him and his other stories too.
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Necromancer - Necropolis Rising Book 2 (Dave Jeffery)
The Final Score - 8/10