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Review: Los Caminantes

Carlos Sisí takes us to an otherworldly Malaga. The underworld has taken over the town, the dead are walking the streets and life as we know it will never be the same again. Horror fiction with a cinematographic feel that brings together the best the genre direct from the overactive imagination of the author.


By:  B. A. Etxaniz
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Author: Carlos Sisí
Publisher: Dolmen
Year: 2009
Nationality: Spanish

Zombies are the product of literature, films and popular culture. Their origins have been traced to voodoo beliefs that dead people can be revived by sorcerers. Rumours of zombies soon spread from New Orleans, passing the borders of Louisiana and nowadays fans claim that zombies are dead beings revived by chemical viruses provoked by human ambition. However they come to life, more and more of them are appearing above ground with their insatiable, and inexplicable, homicidal instinct.

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It’s hard to bring something new to the genre. There are literally hundreds of zombies filling the pages of books and the big screen. George A. Romero managed it with Night of the Living Dead (1968), a film that has become a cult classic amongst zombie lovers across the globe. The horror film I walked with a zombie (1943) by Jacques Tourneur focused on voodoo ritual and ancestral rites. Jorge Grau gave it a shot with Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974). After a particularly dry spell, Danny Boyle breathed some life back into the genre with 28 Days Later, an independent film that brought zombies to the centre of London. The novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson has been endlessly adapted for the big screen, most recently directed by Francis Lawrence.

The most recent attempt in Spain was created by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza with their film REC (2007) and was a box office hit. Add to this the seemingly never-ending stream of television programmes, short films and stories on the subject: the living dead. In Los Caminantes Carlos Sisí takes this literary and cinematographic baggage, mixes it up, adds a touch of religion and brings the action to Malaga.

The vivid scenes in this zombie novel make dozens of direct filmic references. Nevertheless Carlos Sisí manages to create his own language that will entrap you from page one. Ferocious realism, believable characters and rhythmic and evocative description are just some of the elements that make the story captivating. When the novel kicks off, Malaga has become a necropolis. It’s a promising start that won’t leave you disappointed. The genesis of violence can be found in the character of Father Isidro who describes himself as a judge, jury and executioner sent by God on Judgement Day. His persona manages to make religion one of the most disturbing facets of the action.

Sisí was born in Madrid, but the detailed descriptions of Malaga in Los Caminantes are evidence that he has lived on the Costa del Sol for more than thirty-five years. If New York is the backdrop for great movie catastrophes and both Madrid and Barcelona are the setting for 80% of Spanish productions, Sisí has dared to take the genre to the streets of Malaga. Plaza de la Merced, Gibralfaro, the Iglesia de la Victoria, Carranque, La Malagueta… these are just some of the locations where the fight for life between survivors and the living dead occur. Sisí manages however to avoid localism and outsiders will still find themselves immersed as the story unfolds.

Los Caminantes will satisfy zombie fans and newcomers alike: Domen Books has most definitely found a diamond in the rough. First time author Carlos Sisí, graphic designer at Rain Central and director of digital magazine gameunder.es, takes on a terrifying superstition and turn it into novel literature with a twist. Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment: Necrópolis.


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3 comments

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El 2 January 2010 a las 11:30 PM, Josemi dijo...

Este libro es una pasada total… ademas, al estar ambientada en España resulta mucho mas creible y entretenida. Lo recomiendo 100% a todos los fans del terror.


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El 18 October 2010 a las 7:00 PM, Dani dijo...

Totalmente recomendable. así como la 2ª parte: Necrópolis.Genial!


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El 30 October 2010 a las 8:23 PM, Cristo dijo...

La primera novela es genial, incluso si no conoces la ciudad de málaga la describe tan bien que no cuesta nada imaginarla. Estoy deseando leer la segunda.



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