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Prior to recorded history, a small genetic mutation occurred that created this race now found among every civilization in every corner of the globe. Unrecognizable to the rest of mankind but dependent upon them for survival, this race is known as Mortui; those whose spirits do not sever from their bodies when they die. They are not zombies, but they are the source of all living dead legends.
“You living beings have an instinctual knowledge of our existence. Why do you think people are afraid to look into the eyes of strangers, or avoid the gazes of those they pass? It comes from an intuitive need to protect yourselves from us."
At the time of his premature death, Wesley Lohmann discovers he belongs to this select group. “You aren’t a zombie. Zombies are bodies without a soul, and such a thing can’t really exist. Your soul still resides in your body; it’s just not a living body as you think of one.”
Wes joins in the impending conflict between two rival organizations; AfterLife, determined to co-exist symbiotically with humans, and The Atumra, a Mortui organization headed by Seth that focuses on the domination and subjection of the living.
"Seth remained in his seat, pleased by his successful hunt and reveling in the physical sensations he always felt when he was finished. His victim sat lifeless on the other side of the train and Seth knew it could be hours before anyone realized she was dead. He had looked into her soul and seen her hopes for a rich and full life, yet he had squashed her pathetic dreams and life without a second thought. The image of her body riding the train for hours caused him to smile. He had fed on her in public and not a single person in that car knew he had done it. He truly was the superior species – a Mortui, and thus, a god."
As Wes struggles with new and past relationships and tries to find meaning for his continued existence, he discovers within himself the ability and heart to tip the balance in favor of those who want to deal harmoniously with mankind.