The Rising is a apocalyptic supernatural horror novel by Brian Keene. This book involves a zombie apocalypse caused by demonic possession.
First edition cover
The story starts off in the aftermath of a secret particle accelerators experiment. Somehow the experiment has opened some sort of interdimensional rift allowing demons to possess the dead. As the dead come back to life, a zombie plague results.
The story's protagonist is Jim Thurmond, a construction worker living in West Virginia. Hiding away in a bomb shelter, which was previously constructed because of a fear of the aftermath of Y2K, Thurmond holds off packs of roving zombies, many of which were his neighbors and one of which is his recently deceased second wife who was pregnant. A distraught Jim laments his situation and worries about his son, Danny, who is living with Jim's first wife in upstate New Jersey. Jim considers suicide when unexpectedly Jim's cellphone rings with a message from his son, Danny. Danny whispers into the phone that while their situation is equally morbid they are, for the present moment, safe hiding away from the zombies. Jim's suicidal thoughts turn around into a new purpose - to rescue Danny. Jim packs some supplies from the shelter and heads out into an apocalyptic United States overrun with gruesome sights. Jim fights his way out of the shelter by killing his undead neighbors and even his undead second wife, who taunts him with his unborn daughter. The moment he leaves the shelter, Jim is on the run discovering that the undead possess the ability to think, drive cars, use weapons, and set traps for the living.
Meanwhile, a scientist named Baker, who was working on the covert project involving cosmic black holes is trapped within the confines of his underground workspace. With the undead epidemic having swept the world for which Baker is directly responsible he begins to feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. An old colleague is trapped inside a room, a member of the undead who refers to himself as Ob. He hints that he comes from somewhere called The Void, the connotation of which appears to be like "Hell" on Earth. He learns that the zombies are not occupied by their original selves but instead a different evil entity with the possession of the host body's memories and personalities. Baker eventually escapes and finds his life being saved by Worm, a deaf young man whom grateful Baker takes under his wing.Recent paperback coverJim eventually meets Martin, a wise elderly black minister. The two join forces to find Danny and soon run into many life-threatening situations such as packs of roving zombies, backwood cannibals seeking extra food and undead wildlife. Among one of their exploits, they run into a father and son in hiding, who help them along the way until tragedy strikes in a double suicide for the two. At the same time, Frankie, a heroin user and prostitute who is trying to hide from a vengeful pimp, narrowly escapes disaster in the Baltimore Zoo begins a trek out of the cities and into the country. Somewhere within Pennsylvania, the National Guard is present which has literally become psychotic with Colonel Schow, a sociopathic official leading a crew of horny, violent soldiers who abuse their authority by violently drafting people into their army and turning women into sexual slaves to satisfy the soldiers. With utter disregard the army uses living humans as zombie bait. Amongst all this chaos a lone private named Skip, who is disgusted with his comrades' behavior, looks to escape.
Frankie eventually meets up with Jim and Martin. Together they help Jim reach his destination, New Jersey. Meanwhile, Professor Baker, the scientist responsible for creating the zombie outbreak, finds that Ob is possessing his assistant who had decided to kill himself. Ob is the leader of the demons that are infesting the world and taking over the dead and he demands to be released from the room that Professor Baker has trapped him in. The story also keeps tabs on one of the other scientists in charge of the particle accelerator as he too seeks his destiny in a world full of the undead.
In the final chapter all the main characters meet which results in a scene of extreme violence providing a cliffhanger conclusion that raises more questions than answers.