Most people consider the first World War to be right around the last throes of the Victorian era, and as such some don't consider anything that comes after it to be true steampunk. However, the novel “By the Blood of Heroes” by Joseph Nassise is a book that any fan of the genre would be pleased by.
The Great War has been raging for years, so much so that many soldiers are having trouble recalling when there wasn't a war. The Kaisar's forces were on their way to a rout when the gas came, and the dead rose to fight the living. With their cause resurrected Germany has fought back on all fronts, pushing the Allies against the ropes and threatening to reverse the course of the war. But there is more behind the walking dead than a simple scientific anomaly, and a recently downed American ace might be the key to it all. That's why it's imperative that a team cross the borders, avoid the hordes of ravenous dead and the patrols of heavily armed soldiers to steal the ace from under the rotting nose of Manfred Von Richtofen, the Red Baron himself!
“By the Blood of Heroes” is a war torn, steampunk story that takes on the gadgetry of Nicola Tesla and straps it on the duty belts of a story that has the heart and spirit of “Where Eagles Dare” or
“The Great Escape.” Filled with drama, surprises and plenty of spitting lead this first in the Great Undead War series sets up a fun story that keeps you turning the pages, and which is in for the long haul as more than one book is definitely promised by the ending.
Now a distinction should be made that this novel might not exactly be a “good” book. It's main charms lie in the scent of cordite and the wet stickiness of mud and blood in the trenches of the Great War... this does however make it fun and easy to read. “By the Blood of Heroes” doesn't exactly contribute new ideas or mechanisms to the genre, with old standbys like clockwork limbs and lightning guns taking most of the gadgetry forefront, but these old genre props do set the feeling of a very different war. Additionally, the pacing and easy language more than makes up for any of the shortcomings that the story could arguably be said to have. And for those who are familiar with the “Rogue Angel” series, you'll notice that a lot of the action sequences are cousins of that mysteriously popular series.
Is “By the Blood of Heroes” worth the sticker price? Well, if you're looking to get the first in a series about brave, crazy soldiers risking life and limb, both natural and mechanical, in crazy stunts of daring do for country and family, then you're not likely to be disappointed. And failing that, the time it takes to request an inter-library loan is probably well spent on this particular piece of literature.