Editor’s note: this post has been edited to reflect the change in release date of The Living Dead from June 9,2020 to August 4,2020
Although we’re still mourning the loss of Master of Horror George A. Romero, the “Godfather of the Living Dead,” at least one of his creative works will finally see the light of day: New York Times bestselling author Daniel Kraus recently completed Romero’s previously-unfinished zombie horror novel The Living Dead.
Kraus was hand-picked by George’s widow, Suzanne Desrocher-Romero, to complete the massive novel — which the multi-talented filmmaker had been working on before his untimely death. Weighing in at 656 pages, the book promises to be every Romero fanatic’s dream come true.
Set in the present day, The Living Dead is an entirely new tale — the globe-spanning story of the zombie plague as Romero wanted to tell it. It begins with one body, of course: the classic “Patient Zero.” From there, a pair of medical examiners find themselves battling a dead man who won’t stay dead. Hardcore zombie fans may think they know the story’s ultimate outcome from watching Romero’s movies… but it seems they’re in for quite a surprise.
Romero essentially re-invented the zombie concept for modern audiences with his 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead, creating a monster that has become a figure of pop culture for generations, and continues to inform horror cinema today. But despite that film’s classic status and the expanded productions of Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, Romero was regularly hamstrung by limited budgets for most subsequent sequels, and often felt hemmed in by these constraints — not to mention the hassle of dealing with a major studio in the case of 2005’s Land of the Dead.
To tell the vast story of the global rise of the zombie plague and subsequent fall of civilization, Romero had hoped to free his story from budgetary limitations by turning to the printed page. Unfortunately, at the time of his death in 2017, his manuscript was not yet complete.
Enter Daniel Kraus (above), co-author with Guillermo del Toro of the New York Times bestselling novelization for The Shape of Water; writer of Trollhunters, which became an Emmy Award-winning series; and author of The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, the first of a series which Entertainment Weekly ranked among their Top 10 Books of the Year. A lifelong Romero fan, Kraus was honored to be asked by Suzanne Desrocher-Romero to complete The Living Dead. That project is now complete — realizing the dreams of Romero, Kraus and all of us who grew up loving the Living Dead saga and the countless films and stories it inspired.
Advance buzz for The Living Dead has been extremely positive: no less than Joe Hill (NOS482, Locke & Key), Paul Tremblay (A Head Full of Ghosts) and Grady Hendrix (My Best Friend’s Exorcism) have praised the novel as a “landmark of gory genius” and “a sprawling, timely, scary epic.”
The Living Dead hardback from Tor/Forge is slated for release on August 4, 2020 — and it’s now available for pre-order from Amazon.