In a bleak, zombie-ridden future, a small settlement fights for survival and looks to a teenager to lead them…

So you survived the zombie uprising. Now what?

The land is contaminated, electronics are defunct, the ravenous undead remain, and life has fallen into a nasty and brutish state of nature. You need: food, water, weapons.

Welcome to Bridge City in what was once Arkansas—part medieval fortress, part Western outpost, and the precarious last chance for civilization.

A ten-year-old prodigy when the world ended, Gus is now at fourteen a battle-hardened young man.  Gus designed Bridge City to protect the living few from the shamblers always at the gates. Now he’s being groomed by his physician mother, Lucy, and the gentle giant Knock-Out to become the next leader of men. But an army of slavers is on its way, and the war it wages for the city’s resources could mean the end of survival as we know it. Can Gus be humanity’s savior?  If he is, will it mean becoming a dictator, a martyr, or maybe something worse than even the zombies?

Grab a sturdy headknocker, strap on some Kevlar, and prepare to shape the future of humankind.


“This second novel by Jacobs has all of the right elements of the bookshelf’s worth of zombie novels swarming the market: zombies, blood, gore, terror and the gruesome mechanics of survival—but this bloody entry also offers something more in style, substance and readability… The novel’s tenderness in places is balanced by a ferocity that pulls no punches. For readers who get off on what-would-I-do? questions, this book offers satisfaction.” – Kirkus Book Reviews

“Bram Stoker Award nominee Jacobs (Southern Gods) avoids the major pitfall that many aspiring zombie writers fall prey to: a lack of originality… The hard decisions [the protagonists] must make in a world without humanity drive Jacobs’s compelling plot from beginning to end.” – Library Journal

“This smart addition to the zombie genre is heroic and strangely hopeful, championing the unyielding human drive for justice and civilization.” – Publishers Weekly

“Readers will become immersed in the dark, unforgiving world Jacobs has created, and the morally ambiguous choices his characters make will give them plenty to ponder.” – Booklist

This Dark Earth…manages to be bleak and tender as it posits humanity’s last stand in the miasmic jungles of Arkansas. There’s a ferocious and unpretentious literary talent roaring within this book, Jacobs has a foot in Cormac McCarthy territory, though he’s more hopeful and humanistic, which transcends the limitations of genre fiction while remaining pulpy-fresh enough to invite speculation about who’ll play Gus and Lucy in the (inevitable?) movie.” – Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

“The storyline might seem familiar, but the believable and engaging characters help keep the reader invested…you’ll be compelled to stick around until the very end. This Dark Earth proves there’s still some life in this wasteland of a genre yet.” – Rue Morgue Magazine

This Dark Earth is a smart, thoughtful look at the end of humanity that delivers horrifying detail packed with an emotional resonance. It’s The Road meets World War Z. Deftly written, with eloquent prose peppered with crisp, dark humor, Jacobs crafts a chillingly believable tale that transcends genre fiction and manages to do what I long for whenever I sit down to read a book: make me wish I’d written it.”
– Scott G. Browne, author of BREATHERS and LUCKY BASTARD

“A savage gut-punch of a tale, lurching hellbent to a spectacular showdown ending unparalleled in the zombie canon.”
– Sophie Littlefield, author of Aftertime and Rebirth

This Dark Earth is, quite simply, the best zombie novel I’ve read in years. Breathes some much-needed new life into the dead.”
Brian Keene, best-selling author of The Rising and Ghoul

“The story isn’t really about zombies, at least no more than Frankenstein is really about the animated dead, but focuses instead on the human reaction to the tragedy and the age old question of whether they will rise above their base nature for the good of the many or sink into depravity and ruin for the sake of the one.” – Joseph Nassise, multiple Bram Stoker award winner and internationally bestselling author of the Templar Chronicles series, the Great Undead War series, and the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy