October 30, 2009 at 04:00 PM EDT

EW has learned exclusively that Quirk — the publishing house that brought you Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters — has planned a new title, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, which goes on sale March 23, 2010. In this prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, zombie carnage once again reigns in Regency England. Readers will be able to see how heroine Elizabeth Bennet — who emerged as a martial arts star in P&P&Z — evolves, as Quirk editor Jason Rekulak says, “from an innocent teenager to a deadly slayer of zombies.”

Jane Austen’s coauthor in this venture is award-winning mystery writer Steve Hockensmith (Ben H. Winters worked on Sea Monsters and Seth Grahame- Smith co-wrote P&P&V.) “Hockensmith is no stranger to literary mashups; he does these great Sherlock Holmesian westerns,” says Rekulak. He notes that Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a “completely original novel inspired by Austen’s characters” — in other words, there’s not a drop of original Austen writing in it.

The story opens with the Bennets attending a funeral for a local shopkeeper, who — before the burial — suddenly sits up in his coffin. Everyone in the crowd is shocked except Mr. Bennet, who has some knowledge of zombie incursions in other parts of England. Realizing that the scourge has come to their village, he decides to protect his daughters by having them schooled in the martial arts — nunchuks, katana swords, and the like.

What do you think? Is this another zombie must?

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