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The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

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Rise of the Governor
Cover Gallery
Author Robert Kirkman
Jay Bonansinga
Publisher Thomas Dunne Books
Based On Image Comics' The Walking Dead
Published October 21, 2011
Succeeded By "The Road to Woodbury"

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor is the first installment in the novel series by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga. It depicts the journey of Brian Blake in the early days of the undead apocalypse to his eventual rise as "The Governor" of Woodbury. It is followed by The Road to Woodbury, released on October 16, 2012.[1]

Plot Synopsis

The Plot is divided into three parts with several chapters each; each part chronicling the different stages of Philip's journey.

Part 1: The Hollow Men

The novel begins with Philip, his daughter Penny, his older brother Brian, and his best friends Bobby Marsh and Nick Parsons staying in an upper class house at Wiltshire Estates; the group had been driving for three days away from their home in Waynesboro, Georgia in order to escape the apocalypse, and were heading towards the refugee center in Atlanta, Georgia prior to stumbling upon the walled community - infested with undead and recently abandoned. The group intended to stay only for a night, but upon finding ample provisions and amenities inside, they chose to make it a more permanent settlement, hoping to wait out the crisis.

As they go out scavenging and build barricades, the undead become drawn to their presence. Days later, after fending off another small wave of them from the fences, Bobby is bitten by a child-zombie while trying to rest, and immediately turns after dying, prompting Phillip to kill him. With the undead clawing at the barricades continuing to grow in number, the group buries Bobby and pack up their vehicle with weapons and supplies, leaving the next night. Brian posts a sign outside the gateway that reads "ALL DEAD DO NOT ENTER" before they ultimately depart.

The survivors are eventually forced to reach Atlanta's outskirts on foot, due to the road being packed with wreckage and abandoned cars. They find the surrounding landscape - and thus civilization at large - in utter ruin, and have many close calls with undead before finding another vehicle, which they use to drive into the city.

Atlanta appears completely abandoned and marked with the same signs of catastrophe they had seen earlier. Philip drives further into the city despite the omens, but after reaching the Capitol Building, they encounter a vast herd of walkers - numbering in the thousands - coming towards them.

Part 2: Atlanta

Philip attempts to drive away from the hordes chasing after them, but is quickly surrounded by the city's almost entire infected population. In a fit of both psychotic rage and desperation, Philip drives through the endless crowd, running over many and covering the group's heavy vehicle in gore, which causes it to spin out of control and crash, forcing them once again to go on foot.

Running from the walkers through the back alleys they are rescued by April Chalmers by being led into her and her family's safe house. Chalmer's family comprised of ailing father David and his daughters, Tara and April Chalmers. The two groups bond into the autumn, clearing biters from the rest of the apartment building, reinforcing it, gathering supplies, and trying to live normal lives. During Part 2, Philip Blake gradually become more violent, bloodthirsty, and volatile and Nick and Brian worries. David dies from lung cancer during this period and turns into a walker, but Philip manages to kill him before he can bite Tara. After this incident Tara develops harsh feelings towards Philip.

Philip develops a romantic relationship with April, but while the two are out on a scavenging run he ends up raping her. The next morning, April is missing, and Tara threatens Philip, Penny, Brian, and Nick with a gun, demanding that they leave. The survivors reluctantly do so, staying in various safe havens (previously marked by Nick during his reconnoiters of the area) before reaching a motorcycle garage. They jump on a pair of Harleys and ride out into the countryside, away from the city.

Part 3: Chaos Theory

The group stops briefly at a deserted rest stop, and then settles at an abandoned plantation house. They stay there for some time with winter approaching, but one day a well-armed gang of drug-addicts invade their home, wanting it for themselves. Philip, with his family held hostage, keeps the gang at bay with an unloaded shotgun, and negotiates that they can have the house if they're allowed to leave. The gang fires at them as they depart, however, and though Nick and Philip manage to take down the gang, Penny - mistaking a gang member for her father - is shot and mortally wounded amidst the battle, dying in Brian's and Philip's arms. Brian, who was assigned to guard her, is beaten savagely by Philip.

Over the proceeding days, a grief-stricken Philip brutally tortures two gang members he had captured (whom he names 'Cher' and 'Sonny'), and pays nightly visits to Penny - now undead - tied to a tree in the orchard. Nick and Brian go out to try and rescue the two prisoners, but Nick ends up euthanizing them due to the severe extent of their injuries. They soon depart, Philip dragging the Penny-zombie with them.

Their vehicle breaks down a few miles from the plantation, and while on foot they find the town of Woodbury, populated by a small community of survivors. The town is disorganized and comes under frequent undead attack. Three former National Guardsmen, led by "Major" Gene Gavin, control the town by force, and frequently hold dirt races as entertainment and as an excuse to steal from the townsfolk.

Philip would continue to become insular and insane, visiting dead Penny tied up in the group's apartment room and feeding her severed human body parts. A few days later, Philip disappears, and Brian follows Nick as he goes looking for him. They find him in the woods, tying up a young girl from the town. Nick intervenes, but with Philip refusing to stop, he opens fire - the blast from his shotgun strikes both Philip and the girl, killing the latter. As Nick goes insane from his actions, Brian angrily shoots him in the head. He goes to comfort Philip, who dies in his arms, and then leaves to allow a group of walkers to eat the bodies.

Brian falls into sort of a catatonic state during the next two days grieving for Nick and his brother. Constantly questioning what his brother, Philip Blake would have done in certain situations but he is brought back to his senses when he hears "GoodBye" somewhere from his semiconscious.

Two days later a town meeting is called at the courthouse - walkers have surrounded the settlement, attracted by the noise of the dirt races, and Gavin is organizing a defense. Several people speak up against him but Gavin threatens them, shooting dead the town's mechanic as he tries to leave. After Gavin sends his men out to round up the other townsfolk, Brian walks up and empties his pistol into Gavin's face. He calls the armed townsfolk in the room to follow him and prepares to take back the town. One of the men, Martinez, is first to greet him, and when Brian is asked his name, he answers "Philip Blake".


Main Group

Blake Family

Blake Family Friends

Atlanta Apartment Complex Survivors

Chalmers Family

Peach Villa Survivors

Woodbury Survivors




  • Twice in the book, the current time is labeled as Central Standard Time (CST). In Georgia at that time of year, the time is actually Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). There is a two hour difference between CST (GMT-6) and EDT (GMT-4).
  • When Philip goes to leave the orchard house, the author confuses his automobiles. He has Philip driving a "Ford S-10" pick-up.
  • The characters escape by causing a 20-ton bus to explode and ducking into a nearby store while the diesel bus explodes and goes airborne by placing a Molotov cocktail inside the exhaust pipe and lighting. A Molotov cocktail in a tailpipe would not cause an explosion. Diesel also does not explode without being compressed.
    • If the bus would have exploded, then it would not only have been thrown into the air, but thrown shrapnel in all directions, and which would have blown out the windows of the shops nearby.
  • Multiple mistakes when referencing firearms attributes and their functions. (For example, when referring to the pump shotgun they found being the most powerful of its type when in fact, short of choke patterns, the are all relatively the same.  It's the shotshell itself that increases the firearms effectiveness.)


Walking Dead Media and Merchandise
The Walking Dead Comic SeriesThe Walking Dead TV Series
Books The Walking Dead Chronicles: The Official Companion BookRise of the GovernorThe Road to Woodbury The Fall of the GovernorJust Another Day at the OfficeTriumph of The Walking Dead: Robert Kirkman's Zombie Epic on Page and ScreenSurvivors' GuideThe Covers: Volume 1The Covers: Volume 2Cutting Room FloorThe Official MagazineCompendium 1Compendium 2Compendium 3100 Project
Official Magazine Issue 1Issue 2Issue 3Issue 4Issue 5Issue 6Issue 7Issue 8
Video Games Dead ReckoningThe Walking Dead: Left Behind The Walking Dead Social GameDeluxe TV GamesThe Walking Dead (Video Game)The Walking Dead: Survival InstinctThe Walking Dead: Assault
Board Games The Walking Dead Board GameThe Walking Dead TV Board GameMonopolyRisk
Toys and Other

ApparelCalendarAction FiguresTrading Cards Box 24 PacksMinimatesThe Walking Dead: EscapesPremium Enamel LightersPint Glasses and SteinsRick Lunchbox TinThe Complete First Season (3-Disc Special Edition)Zombie PrintsBust BankHyundai ElantraPlush ToysThe Walking Dead Pop!Michonne StatueTank-Full-O'-Heads Blu-Ray Case

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