I usually run fast and far from Facebook ads, especially the “sponsored” ones. Most times, it’s for second-rate junk that looks really cool, but I also don’t really need it either. Then, a few days ago, I came across one from a company in Sweden called Grimfrost. The subtitle on their ad said Authentic Viking Products from Sweden. Viking products? OK, I’ll bite. I have ancestors from Norway and Finland, so I’ll check it out. There, they had a book for sale that caught my eye. The Undead by Johan Egerkrans.

The Undead, English cover
The Undead, English cover

I teetered back and forth on buying it. It looks cool, good comment reviews, but do I really need another undead reference book? After a bit I threw in the towel. I rationalized with myself; what the heck… I’ve wasted $50 on way worse things. Well I’m here to tell you, this was money well spent.

Amazing illustrations in The Undead

The Dhampir, offspring of a vampire and a mortal in the Balkans, The Undead
The Dhampir, offspring of a vampire and a mortal in the Balkans, The Undead

When I received the book, I consumed it quickly. Not that it’s a quick read mind you, but because it’s really well-written and beautifully illustrated. It’s rare anymore that I get a book that I don’t want to put down, but this one immediately fell into that category. While I thoroughly enjoyed the writing, it was the illustrations that bring this book to life, page after page. A quick visit to the Interwebz helped me find more about our illustrator here, Johan himself. Here’s what he has to say about his passion for drawing:

“Drawing has always been part of my life—at age two I picked up a pencil and haven’t been able to put it down ever since. I’ve worked as a professional illustrator for more than fifteen years producing art for books, games, comics and films. More recently I’ve also written and illustrated “Nordiska Väsen” about Scandinavian folklore, and three picture books about dinosaurs, monsters and stuff.”

From Johan Egerkrans blog
The Succubus
The Succubus

So what’s the book about?

Being a writer, I cannot get enough reference book material. This book quickly found it’s way to the top of my shelf for all the ghoulish backstory it gives about legends of the undead from around the world. It was originally written in Swedish, but the translation by Annie Prime put it seamlessly into English.

Dracula, from The Undead
Dracula lives again…

The book is sectioned into four main areas: Europe, The Americas, Africa and The Middle East, and finally Asia and Oceania. There’s also a really good glossary and selective bibliography at the end to help with further research. In all, there’s 41 stories from the far-flung corners about things that go bump in the night, more than enough to keep you up at 3am.

The Ghul, a cannibalistic spirit of Arabic burial sites and badlands
The Ghoul, a cannibalistic spirit of Arabic burial sites and badlands

The Undead: Summary

Though Halloween is past, it’s never a bad time to pick up a scary book. On top of the great content, this book is well-made. It comes in canvas hardcover with embossed gold lettering and the paper and printing is high-quality. Add to that how quickly it arrived from Sweden to Tennessee (ordered on Tuesday, in my hand on Friday). The cost, including shipping was just under $50. For the quality of the book, that’s a good price. If you have some extra cash and want a nice conversational book of dead things with awesome art work, The Undead should be on your list!

Johan Egerkrans - The Undead

Check out: The Witcher” trailer is here!

“Thirsting for the blood and essence of the living they rise from their graves. Since the dawn of time people across the globe have feared the undead.”

Rear cover quote, The Undead by Johan Egerkrans

Well, fear no more. The book also includes chapters on how to recognize and protect yourself from the undead. That’ll be handy!

Check out Grimfrost to see more for yourself!