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Flesh & Bone: Book 3 in the Rot & Ruin Series by Jonathan Maberry
Flesh and Bone: Book 3
Flesh & Bone, book 3 in the popular Rot & Ruin Series by award-winning author Jonathan Maberry, has now been released. This series centers around fifteen year-old Benny Imura and his teen friends as they navigate their way through life in a zombie apocalyptic future.
In this latest release of the series, the teens have left the safety of their fenced community in northern California and are heading east, into the wasteland known as the "Rot and Ruin". The small group of teens (consisting of Benny, Nix, Lila and Chong) are searching for the jet which flew over them while they were fighting to survive out in the Rot and Ruin. They have no idea where the jet came from or where it was heading, but they are positive that this must be a sign that somewhere out there humanity has survived. It has been months since that brief glimpse of the jet has been spotted, but they are willing to take the risks and make the dangerous journey to find a society capable of flying a jet. If they are capable of flying a jet, perhaps they also have found a cure for the zombie outbreak or the many other ailments now plaguing what is left of mankind.
Worth the risk
All of the teens that set out on this journey are willing to risk their lives to find a new home. Each of them have slightly different reasons, but the common theme that binds them all together is grief. Although at least 90% of society has been wiped out by the zombie plague, known as "First Night", these teens are too young to remember much of the old world. They have, however, still each suffered very recent losses. Benny's brother Tom Imura, the leader of the group, was murdered, as was Nix's mom. This leaves Benny and Nix, now a couple, without any adults in their lives. Lila has no family left either. Only Chong has parents he leaves behind, but he is keenly aware that chances are he will never see either of them again.
After the murder of her mother, Nix has become obsessed with leaving their small community and finding the jet. She wants to find a safe place where people are doing more than just surviving, they are actually living. Living without fear, living with plans for a future.
Benny loves Nix deeply and wants to protect her from all the pain, but at the same time he is also struggling with the very recent death of his brother and mentor, Tom Imura. He wants to be strong like his brother, but he is filled with doubt about his short-comings and he fears that he is losing his sanity when he begins to hear his dead brother's voice in his head.
The Reapers: New horrors in the Rot and Ruin
In previous books, Benny and the other teens had to fight for their lives against not only the zombies but also against the bounty hunters and "Gameland", a place equivalent of dog fighting--only it was children against zombies.
In Flesh & Bone, the zombies are beginning to mutate and behave differently. They no longer are all slow moving, clumsy and mindless. Some are very fast. Some are coordinated. And some have the ability to actually hunt their prey. Even with these new horrors, the zombies take a back seat compared to the evils of men.
Enter the Reapers, a death cult who worship the god of Darkness. They believe it is their sacred duty to release every living human being from their existence of misery--into the darkness. The zombies are supposed to inherit the world, not mankind. This group will not rest until they have killed every survivor--then they shall be allowed to die themselves.
People all across the world have clung to life for 15 years. But the Reapers are doing their best to wipe them out. They go from settlement to settlement and "save" everyone-men, women and children. Even if the "infidels" don't realize they are saving them by giving them the gift of eternal darkness.
Even though the teens have a goal of finding the jet, they are quickly drawn into the battle against the Reapers. While rescuing a young girl named Eve, they learn about Sanctuary. Sanctuary is supposedly a safe harbor for people. There is food, medicine, and safety from the zombies. This might even be where the jet came from? And it is close by but hidden.
Unfortunately, Benny and his friends are not the only ones who want to find Sanctuary. The Reapers also to want to find it, so that they can wipe it out.
Let the Battle Begin
The third book has, in my opinion, more gore and death unleashed than any of the others. I don't know how it is possible, but the flesh-eating zombies are not the greatest enemy. Evil is found in what little is left of mankind, whether it is cloaked in a serial killer, power-hungry leader or a religious fanatic (and in some cases all three-in-one).
Besides the obvious fight for survival, the author explores the nature of grief and how individuals try to cope with their profound loss. There is love and there is loss. This is just as relative in today's world as it is in this apocalyptic future.
I don't want to give away any spoilers, but there is an epic battle and race to see who can get to Sanctuary first. Who survives? Is Sanctuary what everyone thought it was? Is there a cure for the zombie plague? You'll have to read the book to find out.
Author Jonathan Maberry discusses Rot & Ruin series
Fire & Ash: Book 4
Fire & Ash, book four of the Rot & Ruin series, will be released in 2013. This will be the final book in the series.