Cover Artist: Christina Mrozik
Stephen King’s Under the Dome meets The Last of Us in this harrowing dystopian novel about the downward spiral of a seaside town that becomes infected by a mysterious ocean-borne contagion.
If you want to stay, you have to die.
In a small fishing town known for its aging birding community and the local oyster farm, a hidden evil emerges from the depths of the ocean. It begins with sea snails washing ashore, attacking whatever they cling to. This mysterious infection starts transforming the wildlife, the seascapes, and finally, the people.
Once infected, residents of Baywood start “deading”: collapsing and dying, only to rise again, changed in ways both fanatical and physical. As the government cuts the town off from the rest of the world, the uninfected, including the introverted bird-loving Blas and his jaded older brother Chango, realize their town could be ground zero for a fundamental shift in all living things.
Soon, disturbing beliefs and autocratic rituals emerge, overseen by the death-worshiping Risers. People must choose how to survive, how to find home, and whether or not to betray those closest to them. Stoked by paranoia and isolation, tensions escalate until Blas, Chango, and the survivors of Baywood must make their escape or become subsumed by this terrifying new normal.
At points claustrophobic and haunting, soulful and melancholic, The Deading lyrically explores the disintegration of society, the horror of survival and adaptation, and the unexpected solace found through connections in nature and between humans.
“Do not eat fish from these waters. Or oysters. Really, just stay inland. Except that, in The Deading, that doesn't necessarily mean you're safe, either.”
—Stephen Graham Jones, bestselling author of The Only Good Indians
Pre-Order (release date, July 23rd, 2024)
Nicholas Belardes’s fiction combines elements of literary fantastic, fantasy, eco-horror, and science fiction. His obsession with nature, history, and the world’s ongoing climate disasters, blended with a daily birdwatching habit, fills his prose with not just warblers and flycatchers but also other obscurities from the natural world. He earned his MFA at University of California Riverside’s Palm Desert Low Residency where he received the Founder’s Award. The Deading is his debut horror novel. He lives on the Central California coast. You can find him online at nicholasbelardes.com