Fire: The Collapse

Rated 4.00/5 based on 26 reviews
It begins with the end...

When Megan Pritchard clocks in for her late night shift in a Nevada brothel, she has no way of knowing it will be her last. The dead are rising, and mankind is on the fast track to extinction. As her coworkers turn into cannibalistic zombies, Megan is forced to flee into the desert with nothing but the clothes on her back and a vague plan to reach her sister in Arizona.
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Price: Free! USD

Words: 52,710
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452452456
About William Esmont

William Esmont currently lives in the desert southwest. He is busy working on his next novel.

Also in Elements of the Undead

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Liza Butler on Jan. 30, 2013 :
This zombie apocolypse was great! The best one yet and I am just a couple of books into this genre.

The WORLD is suddenly overrun with zombies. One moment everything is fine, the next, you wife is trying to see what your eyeball tastes like. The military doesn't know what to do so, of course, they bomb the most populated cities in hopes of slowing down or killing the infestation.

Not all humans are dead, not all zombies are dead. How would you survive in this New World?
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Shannon Blue Christensen on Jan. 17, 2013 :
I admit it, I was skeptical. Then again, I thought that Twilight was fun, despite being badly written. Lots of things are entertaining without actually being good. So, I thought I’d give Esmont’s Elements of the Undead a shot. At least, it would be a diversion from daily life.

I underestimated it.

In all really satisfying science fiction or fantasy stories, paranormal archetypes (in this case, zombies) are symbols for bits or themes of culture or humanity about which we do not know how to discuss. The outlandishness of the apparent subject gives the audience permission to safely talk about troubling social issues. If the conversation gets too hot, someone can crack a joke about vampires or zombies or changelings or Big Brother. Everyone can save face and retreat into the social order they distrust. It is always about today, always about now, when the genre is correctly executed. If it is done badly, it is never more than an idle pastime and an object of ridicule. Done well, however, it can subvert existing power structures. It can become a cultural touchstone.

The popularity of superheros, paranormal heroes and villains, and artificial intelligence named “Hal” (or cars which park themselves and talk back to the drivers when they ask for a certain radio station) is not a fluke. It is a lightening rod for social psycho-analysis.

At the end of Fire, the narrator uses Megan’s point of view to say, “The undead were only a symptom, she had finally realized, a symptom of a broken society that would rather battle each other to the death than compromise for the greater good.” (Page 184.) Elements of the Undead is a commentary about what we have become, with our social media, hyper-violent entertainment, and bloated governments. We turn on ourselves, and devour senselessly, without meaning and without stopping.

If your taste doesn’t run towards the metaphoric, the series more than satisfies with quick pacing, lots of action, and just the right amount of detail. Esmont skillfully develops characters (even those who don’t live long) who mean something to us, and about whom we care. He weaves us around various geographical locations, introducing us to groups of survivors, and different manners of survival, some of which are as bad as the zombies themselves. Esmont does not sacrifice story for pacing, however, and while it is a violent novel, it is not unnecessarily gruesome. The real violence happens between people – and leads us to the book’s self-description: “tales of survival.”

By the end of Earth, book three, we still do not have a clear notion of what survival is or what death is, since very few things stay dead for long in this world. Elements of the Undead presents possibilities for what it might mean to be dead, or what it might mean to be alive, and thus offers a searing perspective on our treatment of each other in this, our zombie-free world.

It is a relevant tale in this age of online relationships and decreasing face time.

Lastly, the formatting and artwork of the book are beautiful. They add to the grittiness of the story, giving it the appearance of an old telegram with blood smears and crinkles. The e-version is good, but the paperback is lovely.

Also by William Esmont:

The Patriot Paradox (The Reluctant Hero, Book One)

Pressed (The Reluctant Hero, Book Two)

Self-Arrest

http://www.williamesmont.com

Red Adept Editing: http://www.redadeptpublishing.com/editing-services offers editing services to elf-published authors, in addition to being a small press.

Streetlight Graphics is ww.streetlightgraphics.com, another small business offering graphics arts services to idenpendent authors.

This review first appeared on irevuo.com, Friday Reads.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Crystal Waldrum on Dec. 31, 2012 :
While the threat of a zombie apocalypse is one that seems surreal there is a good chance it will begin and with little warning and with no cure. Book One details the initial spread and the first few months of survival after it begins. The interesting part of this tale with the use of military and nuclear weapons in trying to limit or destroy the threat, on US soil to say the least. This twist is not one I've seen played out in any format before. I liked it, made it far more realistic than other tales.

Yet while I enjoyed the gnashing of rotting teeth against fresh flesh the story was merely bones. There was little in character development or enough of any one storyline to find a connection with a key player. Perhaps this was intentional since anyone can be killed at any time but I felt it lacked a hook. Perhaps it was simply a line up for the next tale (it is Book One after all) however it left an empty feeling at the end and a 'meh' feeling for me to seek out the second book.

Overall not a bad tale of the end of the world and the zombie apocalypse, however better character connectino is needed to make it a re-reader.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Crystal Waldrum on Dec. 31, 2012 :
While the threat of a zombie apocalypse is one that seems surreal there is a good chance it will begin and with little warning and with no cure. Book One details the initial spread and the first few months of survival after it begins. The interesting part of this tale with the use of military and nuclear weapons in trying to limit or destroy the threat, on US soil to say the least. This twist is not one I've seen played out in any format before. I liked it, made it far more realistic than other tales.

Yet while I enjoyed the gnashing of rotting teeth against fresh flesh the story was merely bones. There was little in character development or enough of any one storyline to find a connection with a key player. Perhaps this was intentional since anyone can be killed at any time but I felt it lacked a hook. Perhaps it was simply a line up for the next tale (it is Book One after all) however it left an empty feeling at the end and a 'meh' feeling for me to seek out the second book.

Overall not a bad tale of the end of the world and the zombie apocalypse, however better character connectino is needed to make it a re-reader.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: AJ Murphy on Sep. 09, 2012 :
Not at all sure what I expected, but the book is worth a read, particularly if you enjoy a good horror story. Esmont has a way of description that just pulls you in, and has you turning the pages.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: sandra rodriquez on Sep. 05, 2012 :
Big fan of this book have never read a zombie book so glad this was the first. Wasn't at all what I expected great story lines all weaving together with excellent descriptions made this book very real can't wait to find out how it ends.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Gail Ireland on Aug. 13, 2012 : (no rating)
I am not a fan of horror, and this was definitely in that genre. I'm not sure what I expected - probably some fantasy scary story. I did not finish reading this book. I skimmed through and found mostly gore, so I put it aside. Not my cup of tea!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Cynthia Shaffer on Aug. 04, 2012 :
The very idea of zombies is the stuff of nightmares. Is it possible for the entire world to be blanketed within days by a virus that not only kills its victims but reanimates them and turns them into voracious killers, craving human flesh? It is the gritty reality of Esmont's world. This book is most unsettling. It positively undulates with tension and sets the stage for what I believe will be one hell of a battle. I look forward to the next segment in this tale of survival.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kimberly Bacon on July 21, 2012 :
Starting off, I thought I was going to dislike this book. Boy, was I wrong. Esmont does a wonderful job at descriptive writing, and there were times I felt queasy just by that alone. His zombies offer a variety of characteristics, as do his characters. The characters each have a distinct role, even if they are to be killed off within their first appearance. My biggest issue, which really is small indeed, is that for the first book, it was never explained just exactly why everyone turned. However, I am looking forward to the next book in this series so that I can answer my burning questions (no pun intended). :)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kimberly Bacon on July 21, 2012 :
Starting off, I thought I was going to dislike this book. Boy, was I wrong. Esmont does a wonderful job at descriptive writing, and there were times I felt queasy just by that alone. His zombies offer a variety of characteristics, as do his characters. The characters each have a distinct role, even if they are to be killed off within their first appearance. My biggest issue, which really is small indeed, is that for the first book, it was never explained just exactly why everyone turned. However, I am looking forward to the next book in this series so that I can answer my burning questions (no pun intended). :)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Lizzy Lessard on July 18, 2012 :
I admit I thought that this would be the typical zombie apocalypse story; where a group of people fight zombies,themselves, and by the end of the book most of them are dead. I hate to say that my assumptions were wrong, but that pretty much sums up the book. However, Esmont weaves together such a colorful and un-cliche bunch of people that I was thoroughly entertained for the entire novel.

Despite having a huge cast of characters, there was plenty of screen time for each group. Although Megan was the main character, a hooker turned survivor leader, Jack was my favorite to read. I must say that Jack's episodes were so poignant and I wonder if I could of done the same necessary actions if I was in his predicament. Besides the zombies, this book claims an unusual villain - a military woman who makes a lot of bad decisions for her own survival.

What starts out as many different plot-lines and settings dwindles to one major one as the story is told. Necessary actions drive these characters from one chapter to the next. For anyone who knows zombie books and movies - necessary actions means shooting people in the head. That's the only way to kill these things and there is quite a bit of gore accompanying these necessary actions.

It's nothing unique to the genre, but for any fans of zombies, this story is told well. Its a good, quick read for anyone that enjoys their meat and books extra rare.

**I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Shannon Walters on July 18, 2012 :
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review. Which, I am so happy to do and will immediately purchase the next part. I am a pretty avid reader of zombie fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While I was a bit disappointed by how the actual details of the zombie rising were skimmed over, the rest of the story makes up for it. There is quite a few edge-of-your seat moments that I had to ignore the ringing phone or other distractions because I could not put it down! I wish the book had been a bit longer because some of it felt rushed but I am hoping for a catch-up in the next installment
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: mandy sickle on July 17, 2012 : (no rating)
Review -

I received this book in return for a honest review from the author. The book focus's around Megan and those she comes in contact with. In this book we have no way of knowing where the zombies come from, they were just suddenly everywhere. We get different perspectives each character has there own unique story but one common goal to survive. The start to the zombies happened within hours, they were in all parts of earth, New York, LA, Russia, London to name a few. which leads me to believe that it wasn't a attack unless it's aliens. The military tries

I think Megan is my fave but there are a few I would to see the zombies eat too. It's a short book, but so much is packed in, you start to connect with the characters, I was sad when people you were starting to know would die. I like that you care about the characters, it's not just a zombie eat zombie kill book. There is a real story going on. I found the characters interesting, some you like right away while some you want to see get eaten.

I'm not a huge fan of zombie books, in part because they are one of the few things that still scare me, but that doesn't mean I don't want to read them. This book was no exception, it gave me nightmares last night, but I really enjoyed the story. It is well written and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. I look forward to learning more about Megan and her battles with zombies and other humans.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Lisa on July 13, 2012 :
I had such a fun time reading this book! I love zombie stories anyway but when they include arms that continue moving around after they're removed from a body and main characters dying just when you least expect it there's all the more to love. I can't wait to read other books in this series.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: chow tassie on July 07, 2012 :
Zombi storylines can be very predictable and cliché, not so Fire (Elements of The Undead) I really enjoyed reading this book, fast paced and full of action, I couldn't put it down I just kept turning the pages form start to finish. Now I will wait inpatiently for the next installment
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Sara Sykora on July 05, 2012 :
I received this book as a giveaway on librarything.com. I really enjoyed this book. I am totally into this genre and the book flew by I was reading it so fast. I loved the different people he wrote about all at the same time. I loved it so much I went and purchased book two. I wished that it had been longer. It was a great short story though. I can't wait for book three.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Mat Nastos on June 14, 2012 :
I received a copy of this through a giveaway on Librarything. Technically, the author writes very well. Unfortunately, the story he chose to tell was, in my opinion, a bit iffy. It jumps around a lot - each chapter is a new character/story/setting and those characters/stories/settings don't always pay off. Some of the characters have a ton of build up and then are killed off quickly or are forgotten.

The main problem with this book is that it was used to lay the background for future books and wasn't a complete story unto itself. There was little to no point in the book being released on its own.

It's sad to see something that was well-written that just isn't worth reading.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: myprecious04 on June 12, 2012 :
I received this book in e-book format from Librarything.com. If you like a good story and ZOMBIES, this is the book for you. Story line was easily followed and the characters were given grat detail. I would totally recommend this book!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: booklovernm on June 12, 2012 :
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, and looking forward to the next in the series. I think this background will help the upcoming sequels.
It will be interesting to see what caused the start of the plague, and I am really anxious to see how the rogue naval unit fits into all of this.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Amy O'Neal on June 07, 2012 :
I received a copy of the William Esmont book Fire (Elements of the Undead Book One) so I could review it.

The book started out switching from character to character. The plot came together quite well once all the characters were introduced. At the end of the book, there were two groups of people who were totally separate, and I still am trying to figure out how the two groups are associated. This is one of the questions that are left unanswered at the end of the story.

The basis of the book is when a disease is started (created?) that turn humans into flesh-eating zombies. The story is about the people who survive the initial onslaught and how they survive in the wake of this disaster. Add to it that many of the US major cities have been nuked to try and circumvent the takeover of the zombies and you have an interesting read.

The book left many questions to be answered as I read through it, and quite a few of those were left unanswered at the end of the book. They author has already stated that he is planning on writing both a prequel and a sequel to this book, so I hope that some of the questions will be answered in one or both of those books.

Overall, the book was well written and enjoyable to read. However, there are several scenes that are fairly sexually graphic in terms of how they are written. These could have been toned down to make this a little more accessible to people who do not appreciate explicitness in their reading.

I would rate this book at a 3.5 out of 5.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Nancy Allen on June 02, 2012 :
An infection, a virus has broken out all over the world and turning people into zombies. People are attacking each other and then eating them. A navy commander has been given orders to nuke parts of the United States. Everyone is in shock not knowing what is going on. What is happening to all the people? Why are they attacking each other?

Everyone or anyone that is still alive is running trying to stay alive and survive. There are two groups of people. Megan's group are very good people they want to do what ever they can to help people to survive until they can get the world back on its feet again. The other group, ran by the navy commander Hollister wants to take over the world. Hollister will kill any one that goes against what she wants.

Fire is written from different character's point of view given us an inside to their story. We get the back ground on their lives as to who and what they did before the infection broke out. I really liked seeing things from each character's view being inside their head and not getting the info from someone else. I can't wait to read the next book Air to find out more about Megan and how she leads the people. Will she be a good leader? Will the people like they way she leads? Will Megan and Jack become an item? Will Hollister take over the world?
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Wekoslav Stefanovski on May 29, 2012 :
There are a handful of issues that just rub me the wrong way about this book. First of all, I understand that it's part of a series, but even then, I expect for each part of the series to stand more-or-less on it's own. Not this book. This is just a development for a story that will be (maybe) told later. While the characters are nicely constructed and realistic, the plot goes either too fast or too slow, and at the end gets nowhere.
Furthermore most zombie-related works either focus on the initial impact of the dead rising (Night of the Living Dead) or on the psychological aftermath of the apocalypse (Walking Dead). This book tries to sit on both chairs, and, IMHO fails miserably.

Warning: Here there be spoilers.

Right off the bat we are presented with a laundry list of characters. After the fifth or sixth chapter that dealt with a new character introduction I kinda lost track of who was who. On the up side, most of the characters presented had a nice quality about them, even if they were a bit stereotypical (e.g. the hooker with a heart of gold).

However, there are some characters that are heavily introduced in the lead-up, and then given supporting background roles. For the life of me I don't understand why we need to know that Alicia was a cashier - she doesn't even get a speaking part in the latter half of the book, or why Peter, a disposable goon at best, got his own chapter. Yet, the worst example is Kevin. He is given a few chapters, he is rounded off well, he is a nice and relatable character, and he is then killed off page, with barely a mention.

Anyway, after the lengthy introduction, the zombies rise, and they rise FAST. Unlike other works where the apocalypse last weeks and months, here the world is overrun in an afternoon. The dead turn and rise within minutes. I like that no explanation is given why, although I would not mind having a better glimpse of the panic that overtook society. Also, I find that the army's response to the undead threat - nuke everything, ask questions later - is implausible, and I feel that the submarine scene would have been better had the captain not been so pathologically trigger happy.

We then jump to a three months later part, and are served with a few chapters where the three months that passed are explained. The point of moving three months in time, and then reiterating those three months again is beyond me. Most of the characters we are introduced early on are finally at the same place. Here, the focus of the book shifts away from the zombies, to the internal power struggles that plague their little community and the inevitable clash with the rag-tag band of misfits that the psychotic captain of the submarine has assembled. This drudges on for several chapters, and then the book ends. No resolution, no final victory, not even a one-on-one showdown.

The novel is not without some merit, though. The story of Jack is well thought out and emotionally written. It shows some real potential, and I wish the rest of the book was up on the same level of quality.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Tona Cruz Dominguez on May 25, 2012 :
I won this book through a Library Thing's giveaway,

I liked this book. I'm not much into Zombie's but this was a great story. Every character in this book was brought out. I liked the character of Megan the most. I am glad that there is going to more in this series. I would really like to know what happens when Megan takes over and I also want to see what happens with Hollister.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Book Lady on May 25, 2012 :
This was a fast paced, quick read zombie apocalypse novel. It's a pretty typical book of it's type, but this did not detract from the book. I enjoyed it. We are introduced chapter by chapter to the major players of the book... and they don't all survive. I liked that there were enough twists that you really never knew who would die next and how they would go. I'd recommend it and have already downloaded the short story, "Air," book number 2 of the series.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Darlene's Book Nook on Dec. 24, 2011 :
I received this e-book for review from the author through a LibraryThing Member Giveaway. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

I was quite excited to read this book when I saw that it featured zombies! Who doesn’t love zombies?

A virus breaks out worldwide, which initially starts off with flu-like symptoms. After a few hours, those infected begin to change and become violent, attacking people. To be bitten by one that is infected is certain death...that is, until you rise again!

I am not usually a fan of multiple parallel story-lines, but Esmont pulls it off! Zombie fans will not be disappointed. It is gruesome in some spots, but I think the details need to be vivid for a zombie story.

Esmont’s bio at the end of the book says that he is working on both a sequel and a prequel to Fire, and I know that I would definitely be interested in reading those as well!

MY RATING: 4 stars! I really enjoyed it!!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Shawn Chesser on July 06, 2011 :
I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Great descriptions made me feel the tension. You pulled no punches with your characters. The second book is on my list!
Shawn Chesser
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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