'Star Wars' Gets Into The Halloween Spirit With Stormtrooper Zombies In 'Star Wars: Death Troopers'

I am completely and utterly fascinated by the so-called Expanded Universe established by spin-off books, comics, TV shows and video games in the "Star Wars" franchise. The books are especially engaging to me, having continued the story long past the end of "Return of the Jedi," through the rise of a new Jedi Order and the deaths of some key characters (R.I.P. Chewbacca), among many other events. Today marks a new phase in the franchise's continuing evolution, as "Star Wars" takes a bold step into the realm of horror.

"Star Wars: Death Troopers," published by Del Rey, hits store shelves today. It fuses two things that are wholly awesome to me: "Star Wars" and zombies. As the story goes, a malfunctioning prison barge docks with a derelict Imperial Star Destroyer so the crew can scavenge for spare parts. Only they find something else, something dark and hungry, waiting in the shadowy halls of the derelict war cruiser. Just look at that cover art. Hit the jump for the official plot description and some words from the book's author, Joe Schreiber.

Schreiber has some experience with horror, having written "Chasing the Dead" and "Eat the Dark," but this is his first foray into "Star Wars"' Expanded Universe. Fans will be pleased to know however that he went into the project with the right ideas in his head.

"I had the time of my life on this one, I have to say," Schreiber wrote on his blog last December. "I'm doing the final edits now, and I've tried to make it into exactly the kind of book you'd want to read if you were a child of the '70s who grew up with the original 'Star Wars' trilogy and really digs horror in the vein of 'The Shining' and 'Alien,' with a little dose of William Gibson mixed in."

For those who want to know a bit more about the actual plot, here's the official publisher's description:

When the Imperial prison barge Purge — temporary home to five hundred of the galaxy's most ruthless killers, rebels, scoundrels and thieves — breaks down in a distant, uninhabited part of space, its only hope seems to lie with a Star Destroyer found drifting, derelict and seemingly abandoned. But when a boarding party is sent to scavenge for parts, only half of them come back — bringing with them a horrific disease so lethal that within hours, nearly all aboard the Purge will die in ways too hideous to imagine.

And death is only the beginning.

The Purge's half-dozen survivors — two teenage brothers, a sadistic captain of the guards, a couple of rogue smugglers and the chief medical officer, the lone woman on board — will do whatever it takes to stay alive. But nothing can prepare them for what lies waiting onboard the Star Destroyer amid its vast creaking emptiness that isn't really empty at all. The dead are rising, soulless, unstoppable, and unspeakably hungry.