Subscribe to The Horn Book

Deck Z

Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon’s adult novel Deck Z: The Titanic: Unsinkable. Undead. (Chronicle, September 2012) begins in early April, 1912, when German pathologist Theodor Weiss is summoned to Manchuria to investigate what appears to be a particularly virulent strain of plague. Weiss takes a recently infected victim to a laboratory to study the disease, which quickly progresses from flu-like symptoms to a “total loss of higher functions” and “unbridled aggression.” After Weiss realizes the German government plans to seize his findings — and a vial of the infectious fluid he calls “the Toxic” — for military use, he flees for America on the Titanic.

A German agent with his own violent agenda assaults Weiss and unleashes the virus onboard. Within hours the massive ship is infested with zombies, which the crew attempts to quarantine from the rest of the passengers. Then the Titanic collides with an iceberg, and all hell really breaks loose.

Be warned: this is no campy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies–style mash-up but a serious, gory horror story. History buffs will appreciate details about the Titanic’s construction and the appearance of historical figures like Captain E. J. Smith (portrayed as a man of honor and a badass), designer Thomas Andrews, “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, and White Star Line manager J. Bruce Ismay. But with all the bloody zombie action, zombie fans are the real intended audience here. This quick, creepy read is perfect for Halloween.

Read more about the Titanic here; more zombies are here.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.



  1. Elissa Gershowitz Elissa Gershowitz says:

    This makes me think of Fateful by Claudia Gray (HarperTeen, 2011) — a star-crossed love story between a servant and a werewolf set aboard the Titanic. Thoroughly ridiculous, but lots of fun, if you’re in the right Halloween-ish mood.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind