This book follows the events that took place in the previous one which was called “Flesh & Bone”. The story opens up with Benny trying to communicate with his friend Chong. Who has been infected with the zombie plague. Benny, Nix, Lilah, Riot, and Eve were staying at a place called Sanctuary. This place was made for people who seek safety from zombies or the death church. The death church was lead by a man name Saint John and he and his followers called Reapers were hell bent on killing everyone in the Nine towns and destroying Sanctuary. Ever since Benny and his friends got to this place they have been interviewed for signs of infection and what they saw outside of Sanctuary. Benny hated this because he ask question on the topic of saving his friend’s life. They always gave the same response. Nothing. Saint John led group of his Reapers to one of the Nine towns. But with him he also had a zombie army that attacked this town. Everyone in Sanctuary was either a ranger, scientists, or monk. One day Benny went out of Sanctuary to find some more answers to save Chong. When going out he encountered and reaper who tried to kill him but failed. Benny then found some notes and one of them had coordinates to some place he didn’t know. Meanwhile Lilah and Nix were walking along the fence of Sanctuary when they were attacked by three zombies. Two of them were really fast and the other one was slow but had some sort of infections liquid coming out of its mouth. Lucky Nix and Lilah hadn’t got any of it on them. But they both were spooked by this attack. When Benny finally got back to Sanctuary he showed Joe Ledger who was a ranger for Sanctuary and a good friend of his brother Tom the coordinates and Joe told him to stay in sanctuary for now while he gathers some information himself. Of course he didn’t listen and he went to find Riot, Nix and Lilah and try to convince them he needed their help. One of the notes Benny found belonged to a person who was dropping of and protected a scientist that was working on a cure for the disease. He manage to convince them to find him and soon they did but with a huge crowd of zombies surrounding him and on top of that he was also a zombie. They did manage to get some valuable information from the zombie, it was another set of coordinates that gave a exact location to a place. But that’s when some reapers appeared and one of them was Saint John’s second in command Brother Peter. He said Benny needs to give back the notes he had took. Of course Benny being Benny he said no and Brother Peter said that he had until the next day a full 24 hours to give him back the notes. Nix, Benny, Riot, and Lilah rushed back to Sanctuary and told Joe. Joe then took them to a place they never been before and found the person who was in charge of Sanctuary, Ms. Reid. She said that it was to dangerous for them to venture out. But Joe insisted that they go and with a long time of arguing she let then go. They took a military helicopter to Death Valley. Death Valley was the place the coordinates took them. There they saw the scientist that was working on the cure. Her name was Dr. McReady. She had made pills that stops people who had been bitten or got infected from turning in to a full zombie. But the pills were only temporary. Brother Peter led a army of zombies and reapers to Sanctuary and was attacking it. When Joe, McReady, Benny, Nix, Lilah, and Riot got back they saw what was happening. They began to fight the reapers and zombies. Riot left the group to find Eve and the rest of the group went to find Chong to give him the pills. They made it to the infirmary where they came face to face with Brother Peter and some of the best reapers there was. Joe got stabbed and Benny and Brother Peter fought but Benny surprisingly killed Brother Peter. But before he finally to his last breath he told Benny his home was in danger. A couple of hours later Benny, Nix, Lilah, and Chong went back to Mountain Side and found their of friend Morgie. He was sorry for pushing Benny on the ground in the first book. He told them that he was with a group that protected the Nine Towns and Benny told him that the reapers were coming to destroy the town and that need to come up with a plan. They did and once the reapers got there Saint John blew his whistle to make the zombies attack the town but instead they attack the reapers because Benny bleach the whole field in front of the gate of the town which blocked the scent of the died flesh. Even though the reapers lost a lot of men they manage to kill of the zombies and entered the town and that’s when Benny started the second phase of his plan and that was to surround the entire town with fie from the bleach. He told the reapers to put their weapons down and all of them but Saint John did. He took his knife and committed suicide.
Having multiple problems have changed the characters in this book. But it also introduced the readers to new ones that had a significant part in the story. But the minor characters for example the zombies have changed as well. Before the zombies were usually slow, didn’t know anything but hunger, and reacted to sounds. But after reading this book the zombies became more dangerous than ever. Mostly all of them have mutated. This affects them by making them run, pick up items and use it like a non infected person would. Some even manage to dodge attacks. Like in the last book when Benny fought a zombie. Another set of minor characters that have changed are the reapers. The reapers at first was followed any command given from a superior person in the church. For example a command given from Brother Peter or Saint John. They have changed because at the end of them book when they out numbered Benny thousands to one, their feelings for their cause have change so they dropped their weapons and gave up the cause. Now on to major characters, like Saint John. In the last book it really didn’t give that much information on him. But as we can see in this one he had feelings towards his second in command. Brother Peter. When he was killed he was angry and hated Benny even more than he already has. But the end his emotions went from anger to sadness when he finally died and told Benny why he did what he did. Brother Peter was pretty much the same in this book as he was in the last one. He was a reaper who loved and was devoted to the cause. Joe ledger was also the same form the last book but this time around he was more devoted to help Benny save his friend even though at times he had his doubts about Chong pulling threw the infection. Lilah changed a lot externally. Ever since Chong got infected she stopped being friendly and threaten a lot of people who said anything along the lines of killing Chong. She became her old self for awhile until he got better and now she is back to normal in some areas. Nix also changed, she had a darker mindset in this book. She also questioned things like her relationship with Benny and her friendship with the others and why wouldn’t anyone just end Chong’s life because she believed that he was suffering. Chong had changed from being a zombie to being somewhat human again even though he still could turn in to a zombie if he doesn’t take his pills. He went back to his normal self like when he left from Mountain Side. Benny was struggling with some internal conflicts at the beginning of the book but they were fix towards the middle of the book. But his attitude towards life threatening situations changed because he handles them more with carelessness and sometimes goes in head first and hopes for the best. The book also reintroduced some characters like Morgie, their old friend. The book doesn’t give as much information about him. The book also has some new characters like McReady. She cares for her work and she really wants to fine a cure to stop the infection from destroying the world. Ms. Reid is also a new character she is very headstrong and sometimes can be hard to deal with. But if someone manages to talk about the right thing then she will be somewhat easy to work with. The last new character that the book had was Sister Sun. She was a reaper and die from cancer but she help the reapers increase the amount of mutations that happened with the zombies and she was also a chemist.
When reading this book I was at first kind of sad because of the struggle Benny and his group has been through. With them running from reapers and Chong infected it really got me thinking of how can they really preserver through all of that. I would have probably given up by the beginning of this book and thought that all was lost. But some how Benny still had hope and that hope got him and the rest of his friends to a mind set to continue to fight back and find a cure for Chong. When they left to go save the doctor and came back to Sanctuary to find trouble was waiting for them I was on the edge of my seat. It was reapers fighting rangers and killing people that nothing to do with the fight. When that all concluded and come to find out that Eve died I was heart broken. She lost her family to the reapers in the last book and now she died in this one. But at least she went to a better place than the one she lived in. When they finally gave Chong the pills and he turned back to his normal self I was happy. Chong to me is one of my favorite characters in the series because way of thinking and how smart he is. In some ways he acts like me and when the final battle took place and Benny saved the towns I was really excited because to me he accomplished something his brother Tom always wanted and that was trying to unite the towns. I have to say I really enjoyed reading this series.