The beginning of Chapter One of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls,by Steve Hockensmith...
"Walking out in the middle of a funeral would be, of course, bad form. So attempting to walk out on one's own was beyond the pale."Yeah, that's when I knew, right then, that I was going to enjoy this book.
Hockensmith provides a prequel set four years prior to the events Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, in which the juxtaposition of proper English manners and zombies, er, sorry, unmentionables is not just entertaining but engaging and, above all, well-written.
Elizabeth Bennett was sixteen years old and on the cusp of her coming out. Then recently deceased Mr Ford sat up in his coffin during his funeral. Now, Elizabeth and her sisters are training in the deadly arts, preparing to defend themselves and all of Hertfordshire against the walking dead, oops, there I went again, the sorry stricken.
Though the transformation of the Bennett girls from demure young ladies to zombie hunters, ack, sorry once more, dreadful exterminators, is instigated by and embarked upon by their dear father, not everyone approves.
Overly class conscious Mrs Bennett is aghast. Her gently-raised daughters should be doing all they can to climb the social ladder and to secure well-to-do husbands from the upper crust of society not running about the countryside waving weapons and bellowing battle cries. The poor woman just doesn't seem to comprehend that if someone doesn't step forward to stem the tide of animated corpses swimming up from their graves, good manners (or lack thereof) will be a moot point.
Mrs Bennett, however, is not alone in her delusion. Genteel Mrs Gostwick is so shocked and appalled that she retracts Jane and Elizabeth's invitations to her grand ball. After all, well-bred, cultured young ladies should be wielding paintbrushes, goose feather quills, and embroidery needles not katanas, quarterstaffs, and throwing stars; they should be studying Latin conjugations and the pianoforte not war tactics and strategy.
This book certainly lives up to Quirk Classic's self-described genre of irreference. Drawing room manners are described side-by-side with disinterrments and decapitations. Girlish giggles and adoescent speculation about who is attracted to whom contrast sharply with graphic discussions on the relative "freshness" of the zombies and their fewmets. Oh, and let us not forget the recurrent refrain of "brrrrrrrrrraaaaaaiiiiinnnnsss!"
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls will be released in trade paperback (Amazon, Barnes and Noble) and e-book formats (Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader) on March 23rd. Audio book devotees will have to wait one additional day for their zombie fix.