Review: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor – Robert Kirkman & Jay Bonansinga

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; Fifth or Later Edition edition (October 11, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312547730
ISBN-13: 978-0312547738
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Phillip Blake – Leader of a small group of survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse.
Penny Blake – Phillip’s seven year old daughter.
Brian Blake – Phillip’s Older brother. Has an aversion to killing.
Nick Parson – Religious friend of Phillips.
Bobby Marsh – Old High School friend of Phillips.


Part one of a trilogy details the rise of Phillip Blake from survivor to being Governor over the entire town of Woodbury.


I love The Walking Dead. I’m a faithful viewer of the TV show and read a large part of the comic series. That made me very familiar with the character of the Governor, and the character was captured well in novelization form. A lot of the events that occurred off screen or outside the comic series we get to witness as Philip begins his reign against the Zombie army.

While I was somewhat confused at times on whether this was the comic governor or the TV show governor, I think those answers were settled by the end of the novel. There are all the usual surprises, ie. Zombies popping out of nowhere and some characters you get attached to may not make it to through the wholes story.

Overall, it was a great novelized prequel to both the comics and the TV show that I’d highly recommend to any Walking Dead fan, or to someone just wanting a decent Horror novel to read for the Halloween season.

I’d rate it PG-13 or stronger due to the violent and horrifying content. For older teens and adults though, grab you a copy and enjoy. Be sure to drop back by here and let us know what you thought. I look forward to the next entry The Road To Woodbury and entry 3 The Fall of the Governor should be out soon if not out now.

About the Author

Robert Kirkman is best known for his work on The Walking Dead and Invincible for Image Comics and SKYBOUND.

He is one of the five partners of Image Comics and is an executive producer and writer on AMC’s critically acclaimed television series The Walking Dead.


THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE says, “Jay Bonansinga has quickly and firmly established himself as one of the most imaginative writers of thrillers. His twisting narratives, with their in-your-face glimpses of violence, are set in an unstable, almost psychotic universe that makes the work of many of his contemporaries look rather tame.”

His novels — which include THE WALKING DEAD: THE ROAD TO WOODBURY (2012, co-author, with Robert Kirkman), THE WALKING DEAD: RISE OF THE GOVERNOR (2011, co-author, with Robert Kirkman), PINKERTON’S WAR (2011), PERFECT VICTIM (2008), SHATTERED (2007), TWISTED (2006), and FROZEN (2005) — have been translated into 9 different languages.  His 2004 non-fiction debut THE SINKING OF THE EASTLAND was a Chicago Reader “Critics Choice Book” as well as the recipient of a Superior Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society.  His debut novel THE BLACK MARIAH was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award, and his numerous short tales and articles have been published in such magazines as THE WRITER, AMAZING STORIES, GRUE, FLESH & BLOOD, OUTRE and CEMETERY DANCE, as well as a number of anthologies.

Jay also proudly wears the hat of indie filmmaker: his music videos have been seen on The Nashville Network and Public Television, and his short film CITY OF MEN was awarded the prestigious silver plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival.  In 2008, his feature-film debut, STASH (based on his short story of the same title collected in CANDY IN THE DUMPSTER), won the Gold Remi at the Houston International Film Festival and Best Comedy at the Iowa City and Queens International film festivals.  STASH was shot in Chicago and stars Tim Kazurinsky (POLICE ACADEMY) and the late Marilyn Chambers (INSATIABLE), and has appeared on On-Demand nationwide in 50 million households.  Jay has also worked as a screenwriter with horror legend George Romero, Will Smith’s production company Overbrook Entertainment, and Dennis Haysbert (THE UNIT).

The holder of a master’s degree in film from Columbia College Chicago, Jay currently resides in Evanston, Illinois.  He is also a visiting professor at Northwestern University in their Creative Writing for the Media program, as well as the Graduate Writing Program at DePaul University. He can be reached at

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