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Z.A. Recht books in order

Z.A. Recht was an American novelist known for his contributions to the horror and post-apocalyptic genres.

He is notably known for his Morningstar Strain series, which chronicles the outbreak and aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.

However, Recht only wrote the first three books in the series: Plague of the Dead (2006), Thunder and Ashes (2008), and Survivors (2012).

The rest of the series was completed by authors Brad Munson and Dawn Peers, following the demise of Z.A. Recht.

Despite his premature passing, Recht left behind a legacy as a talented writer and a master of the horror genre.

He will forever be remembered for his ability to create complex, realistic characters and for his attention to detail in depicting the harsh realities of a world ravaged by a deadly virus.

More about Z.A. Recht

Genre: Horror

Born: 1983 / Died: 2009

Morningstar Strain

  1. Plague of the Dead (2006)
  2. Thunder and Ashes (2008)
  3. Survivors (2012)
  4. Healers (2016)
  5. Hunters (2018)
  6. Heroes (2020)

Detailed book overview

Morningstar Strain

Plague of the Dead

The end begins with a viral outbreak unlike anything mankind has ever encountered before. The infected are subject to delirium, fever, a dramatic increase in violent behavior, and a one-hundred percent mortality rate. But it doesn’t end there. The victims return from death to walk the earth. 

When a massive military operation fails to contain the living dead it escalates into a global pandemic. In one fell swoop, the necessities of life become much more basic. Gone are petty everyday concerns. Gone are the amenities of civilized life. Yet a single law of nature remains: Live, or die. Kill, or be killed. On one side of the world, a battle-hardened general surveys the remnants of his command: a young medic, a veteran photographer, a brash Private, and dozens of refugees, all are his responsibility—­all thousands of miles from home. 

Back in the United States, an Army colonel discovers the darker side of Morningstar virus and begins to collaborate with a well-known journalist to leak the information to the public...and the Morningstar Saga has begun.

Author: Z.A. Recht
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-1439176733
Publisher: Gallery Books
Thunder and Ashes

A LOT CAN CHANGE IN THREE MONTHS: Wars can be decided, nations can be forged . . . or entire species can be brought to the brink of annihilation. The Morningstar virus has swept the face of the planet, infecting billions. Its hosts rampage; its victims don’t die, but are reborn as cannibalistic shamblers.

SCATTERED ACROSS THE WORLD, EMBATTLED GROUPS HAVE PERSEVERED. For some, survival is the pinnacle of achievement. Others hoard goods and weapons. And still others leverage power over the remnants of humanity with a mysterious cure. Francis Sherman and Anna Demilio want only a vaccine, but to find it they must cross a ravaged landscape of the infected and the lawless living.

THE BULK OF THE STORM HAS PASSED, leaving echoing thunder and softly drifting ashes. But for the survivors, the peril remains, and the search for a cure is just beginning. . . .

Author: Z.A. Recht
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-1439198834
Publisher: Gallery Books


In the wake of the zombie apocalypse, two separate bands of survivors journey across a decimated America, each with the desperate goal of finding the cure for the virulent plague that threatens the existence of humankind—or what’s left of it. Now it’s up to these inheritors of the future to outlive their waking nightmare, any way they can.


One group includes a brilliant virologist; for the other, an immune soldier proves invaluable. Battling infected and marauding raiders at every turn, the teams soon uncover the devious plans of Sawyer, an agent of the Chairman of the Reunited States of America, who believes that Dr. Anna Demilio already has the cure, and he will stop at nothing to find her. Now, with the salvation of the world and their own souls on the line, how far will the survivors go to emerge victorious?

Author: Z.A. Recht
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-1451628821
Publisher: Gallery Books

The Morningstar Strain has been let loose—is there any way to stop it?

When there is an industrial accident some of the Morningstar Strain is actually released. The doctor who discovered the strain and her assistant will have to fight their way through Sprinters and Shamblers to save themselves, the vaccine, and the base. Then they discover that it wasn't an accident at all—somebody inside the facility did it on purpose. The war with the RSA and the infected is far from over.

NB: Written by Brad Munson following the death of series author Z.A. Recht.

Author: Z.A. Recht
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-1618686497
Publisher: Permuted Press

A new threat stands in the way of peace.

The RSA is finally eliminated. Looking to the future, President Sherman founds an elite squad of soldiers—the Hunters—who he will use for strategic missions as part of restoring the stability of the country.

Their first mission will take them to the heart of a city ravaged by Morningstar…but not everyone agrees with Sherman’s vision for the future. Threatened by new enemies on all sides, will Sherman and his allies be able to survive long enough to see the Hunters succeed on their inaugural mission? Or will dissident factions looking to release the deadly Morningstar Strain back out into the world succeed where others have failed, and bring humanity back to its knees?

NB: Written by Dawn Peers following the death of series author Z.A. Recht.

Author: Z.A. Recht
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-1682612316
Publisher: Permuted Press

The world ended four years ago when the zombie virus killed billions.Now, with a vaccine in place, humanity can begin again.Or can it?

The Morningstar Strain created two different, equally deadly forms of zombie: the raging, fast sprinters and the relentless, undead shamblers. The sprinters have all but disappeared; the evil humans dedicated to death and chaos have been defeated.

But the worse it yet to come. A new breed of the undead is rising.

A mutant version of the Morningstar Strain has appeared and birthed a sprinter who can think—and can control the billions of shamblers still plaguing the world.

It's time for a whole new breed of human hero to rise: men and women who have survived the end of the world and are ready to fight to the death to reinvent a better world…one finally free of the Morningstar Strain.

The final battle is just beginning. But is it the beginning of the end?

NB: Written by Dawn Peers and Brad Munson following the death of series author Z.A. Recht.

Author: Z.A. Recht
First Release: 2020
ISBN: 978-1682612330
Publisher: Permuted Press