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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Humanity and the world are on the brink of collapse when a virus and supernatural powers ravage Earth in The Lords of the Dead by Theodore Hodges and Michael Waitz. Protagonist Thomas Beckett fights alongside comrades to stave off genetically enhanced mutants called Neoliths while an amoral but effective Erika Lennox turns to science for a solution, for better or for worse. Beckett is spoken to by Nadira, the goddess of death, and mysteriously disappears. A vampiric society rises from the ruins of what is left of humanity, who carry on fighting back even though they are outnumbered and the scales of who and/or what is literally at the top of the food chain have tipped. A shocking rebirth from the death of two vampires named Drakon and Medusa transpires and battles, rituals, and the reorganization of life ensues, where a new era is promised and the fate of humanity is questionable.
The Lords of the Dead by Theodore Hodges and Michael Waitz is, at its core, an inspection of human struggles and power disparity that forces us to reflect on the cyclical nature of history. The work looks into moral dilemmas, betrayal, and the relentless quest for survival in a turbulent and violent world. The web of political tensions and rivalries within the Coalition simultaneously breaks it down and holds up a terrifying mirror to contemporary real-world politics. Hodges and Waitz are exceptional in how they describe their post-apocalyptic setting, called “The Breakdown”, in vivid detail. They show no fear of gruesomeness as writers in portrayals of war, global pandemic, mutations, and vampires who do what vampires do, which is feast on humans. There's a cliffhanger ending but enough wrapped up in the leadup not to be frustrating and I'm confident that readers who enjoy all of the above will delight in The Lords of the Dead, as I have. Very highly recommended.