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To Sail a Darkling Sea (Black Tide Rising #2)

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,030 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
BOOK II IN THE BLACK TIDE RISING SERIES FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR. Sequel to Under a Graveyard Sky. A family of survivors fights back against a zombie plague that has brought down civilization.

A World Cloaked in Darkness

With human civilization annihilated by a biological zombie plague, a rag-tag fleet of yachts and freighters known as Wolf Squadron scours
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Baen (first published January 14th 2014)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,682)
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Mr. Matt
Feb 01, 2016 Mr. Matt rated it did not like it
Shelves: zombies, terribad, 2016
I'm a sucker for a good zombie apocalypse story, but all too often they just really suck. With this book, the genre achieved a new level of general suckery. I finished the book as an exercise in morbid curiosity. It really couldn't be that bad, could it? Nope. It was that bad. It was really, really awful.

First, there is the author's portrayal of women. To be clear, I like women - a lot. Women make life more interesting and softer - and women just look really good. I also recognize that in litera
Hard to rate, numerically. A bunch of stuff I loved, a bunch of stuff I really didn't like.

Full Review:

In ‘To Sail a Darkling Sea’, the sequel to ‘Under a Graveyard Sky’, the Smith family continues doing what they do best: killing the infected and reclaiming the world, piece by bloody, zombie-ridden piece. As they recover ships and rescue survivors of the plague, Wolf Squadron becomes something more than a rag tag fleet of vessels. It becomes a machine (not well-oiled) representing the blood, s
Dec 11, 2013 Donald rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of Mr Ringo's books, and generally I enjoy his work. This one, however, I just could not tolerate at all.

From reading other books by this author I already expected the walls of military jargon & gun porn as a given. This book seemed to amp up those traits to 11 though, and mixed with the stream of consciousness feeling as characters & locations shift about from paragraph to paragraph the book was already starting as a difficult read.

The nail in the coffin though, for me,
Bob Milne
Jan 28, 2014 Bob Milne rated it really liked it
If you enjoyed Under a Graveyard Sky, the first in the Black Tide Rising series, or are a fan of John Ringo's unique brand of military-driven science fiction, then odds are pretty good you're going to enjoy To Sail a Darkling Sea.

The zombies take something of a back seat in this second volume, which is probably a good thing, since zombies can wear a bit thin after a while. Instead, the focus is turned to the survivors, with some really interesting exploration of the conflicts that arise when civ
Kevin Baker
Darkling Sea is, obviously, a transition book in a trilogy or longer series. It starts off where Under a Graveyard Sky leaves off, and ends just before another major plot opens. Surprise!

Because it's a middle book, no remarkable climax occurs in it. This isn't a bad thing, but it's the reason I gave it three stars and not four or five. I enjoyed it. It was a quick read, and, honestly, thinking about what to do during a Zombie Apocalypse is a mental exercise I find interesting. (Who knew that if
Dec 27, 2013 Koeur rated it it was ok

Review: Not a fan of the cover art. I don’t think that design is going to attract many customers. Two argumentative quasi military types sends a negative message. Looks like two juveniles playing dress up.

I am going to start with some of the technical problems that I see in this book, some of it subjective in nature but perhaps relevant. The author pretty much begins the novel with firearm calibers and their effective stopping power on zombies. Faith (a 1
Feb 13, 2015 Nathaniel rated it liked it
I've realized that--for at least some people--there's a really, really easy way to characterize these books.

Step 1: Have you heard of bands like Nightwish or DragonForce?

Step 2: Do you like those bands?

If yes, read these books. If those bands drive you nuts, stay away.

Me? I like the idea of bands like Nightwish or DragonForce, but I can't really get into them. Once in a while, in very small doses, if no one else is around: sure. They can be great. But the whole time I'm torn between feeling "Wo
Shannon J.
Mar 08, 2014 Shannon J. rated it it was ok
As several people have commented, this REALLY feels like a 'in between book.' Not a lot for plot progression, though stuff happens. This is the book where the roughly thrown together fleet of the first book actually gets organized and starts functioning kinda militarily. We also have the rescue of some actual military staff, which also starts pullung things together.

This book has several of the problems of the first novel:

I still suffer serious 'Suspension of disbelief' issues around EVERY plan
Jun 18, 2014 Vincent rated it it was ok
Good book so far but John Ringo's characterizations of women suck. There are several pages devoted to officers going gaga over dresses and the ward room explanation of women not being as promiscuous as men are stereotypical and ridiculous. He's a good author but he can't write a woman for shit, he can write delicate flowers or women who are essentially men.
Hali Sowle
Wolf squadron still roams the Atlantic looking for survivors of the "zombie apocalypse" but now Steve Smith, Commodore of the fleet has an even bigger goal - to start clearing towns and finding a place to make vaccine so that everyone can survive and humanity can be reborn. Faith and Sophia are growing up, if not much in age, than in responsibility and maturity. If I have a disappointment it was not to see anything of the mom Stacey, she pretty much disappeared by the middle of the book, it was ...more
"To Sail a Darkling Sea" is book #2 of the Black Tide Rising series and it is frickin' amazing. It is also strictly an adult novel. This is a zombie apocalypse novel with a lot of violence and the subject of sex is discussed in a frank manner meaning that we all discuss it like adults and not like a bunch of snickering teenagers. This is a book about clearing zombies from ships such as cruise liners and lifeboats. "What happens in the compartment stays in the compartment" applies here.

I found i
Sep 17, 2014 David rated it it was ok
This is number two in John Ringo's zombie apocalypse series and I regret to say, I managed to shamble through it, at times feeling a bit zombie-ish myself.

While the logistics of pulling together a military operation is essential, at times Ringo bogs the reader down. The logistics are important to the story, but at times Ringo just goes into too much detail.

Finally, along the way a character is killed (I won't spoil it by saying who) but it isn't a "Walking Dead" moment because the character rea
Jul 21, 2014 Bibliojunkies rated it really liked it
Nat's XO reviews the Black Tide Rising series...

XO, back again. For those of you that read my brain-chompingly excited review of John Ringo’s Under the Graveyard Sky, I’m pleased as a Zombie with a water bottle to bring you the second in the series, To Sail a Darkling Sea (Read the first one, you’ll get that joke. Doesn’t make it funny, though…). Ringo continues to explore the world and its changes after a virus turns most of the planet into Zombies. The Smith family is back, this time backed by
Mar 22, 2014 Shawn rated it really liked it
Probably 4.5 stars honestly. But there are a couple things to ding. So I can't give it a full 5.

The negatives that keep it 5 stars are: 1) The lack of a real beginning, just like Under a Graveyard Sky had an abrupt end. There is something of a 'soft stop' to this book. But it's clear this is written as a single story. So don't pick up here, or you'll be quite lost.

2) There are a couple harangues that are repeated to excess. "Barbie Guns." Got it the 1st time. Maybe repeating it once later. But t
Feb 27, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, dystopia
This is the second book in the Black Tide Rising series.

With the world in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, the Smith family has come out on top and is beginning to build a force to combat and, eventually, reclaim the world... starting with the United States... if they (and the Wolf Squadron) can get there.

This almost reads like a primer on how to construct a military and why the military has the rules and traditions that it does. For people (like me) who often find military traditions baffling,
Chris Bauer
Feb 11, 2014 Chris Bauer rated it really liked it
As mentioned in my previous review of the first book in this series "Under a Graveyard Sky" John Ringo is back to his butt-kicking ways in "To Sail a Darkling Sea". Plot is sufficiently complex to make one think about what is occurring, characters are compelling and flawed and the pace in this second book is much quicker than the first.

There were a number of aspects I appreciated about this second book;
- layers of complexity and challenges for the protags
- even the "good guys" can be jerks
- act
V.W. Singer
Other reviewers have talked about the sexual aspects and I agree that the impression that men can't survive in a dark metal tomb without having sex with the only available female is an insult to all men everywhere. Once out of the ships, that fact that the women rapidly become pregnant becomes more acceptable. It can happen and has happened throughout history.

As for the combat abilities of Faith, the thirteen year old daughter, I can accept it as a fictional device, although it is stretching thi
Jun 27, 2016 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
I struggled with how to rate this one.

The first book in this series, "Under a Graveyard Sky," was one of the funnest books I have read in recent memory. I kept waiting for the local library to get a copy of the sequel, but finally I broke down and ordered my own copy from Amazon. I'll probably end up buying the rest of the series too.

But that's only "probably." To Sail a Darkling Sea is not as good as UaGS. It starts out slow, disjointed, and doesn't gain traction until about a hundred pages in.
Oct 03, 2015 Bridgette rated it did not like it
I managed to make it past the page where a female sailor was referred to as a "split" but I gave up when it became clear that the only women worth anything in this book were teenagers who ignored men or women who "put out" to "relieve tension" for the men and then proceeded to get knocked up. Because of course what women will do with the world ending is spread their legs and birth more children into the horrors of the zombie apocalypse. Give me a freakin' break!?!?
Fantasy Literature
Oct 21, 2014 Fantasy Literature rated it liked it
To Sail a Darkling Sea is the second installment in the BLACK TIDE RISING series. Ringo continues to tell the story of the Smith family who are the virtual seed of humanity that survives the Zombie apocalypse and starts the fight to save the world from perpetual barbarity.

Trying to re-establish civilization is complex work. For “Commodore” Smith and his family, that becomes increasingly difficult as numbers of people rescued and the implied logistics support begin to increase commensurately. How
Practical Mike
Mar 17, 2014 Practical Mike rated it really liked it
Book 2 of John Ringo's take on the Zombie Apocalypse. A really good read. John has a talent/gift for helping his audience visualize what is happening. I find that reading his books is a fast exercise for me. I started this yesterday and finished today. A book this long usually takes me at least twice as long.

Having said that... be prepared for a discourse on Naval logistics, military discipline, and general organization of society during a break down and rebuild. A lot of careful thought, planni
Carl Heinz
Feb 10, 2014 Carl Heinz rated it it was amazing
And now the wait for the next book in the series. An enjoyable read that kept me focused.
Henry Lazarus
Feb 20, 2014 Henry Lazarus rated it liked it
To Sail a Darkling Sea (hard from Baen) continues John Ringo’s tale of a Zombie Apocalypse from the point in which the Wolf Squadron become part of the remaining U. S. Navy which includes submarines that don’t dare to breathe unfiltered air. The work of rescuing survivors and cleaning out ships of their Zombies continues. Though the ability of anyone, crazy or otherwise, to create a Zombie plague is improbable at best, Mr. Ringo has fun with the concept by showing how survivors might start winni ...more
Aug 16, 2014 David rated it it was amazing
I hesitated before starting this series. I figured zombies were beneath Ringo, a waste of his time and mine. I'm glad I didn't skip this one, because he's hitting EVERYTHING that I like in his writing, and minimizing the stuff that wrecks the mood. As always, he's big on action and openly celebrates the warrior spirit. But where the Posleen and Darhel as enemies added a deep, convoluted element of political intrigue, the Infected are just hostile meat bags. Ringo's work never requires a deep bra ...more
William Bentrim
Jun 08, 2014 William Bentrim rated it really liked it
Ringo brings his experienced voice to the Zombie genre. I was a bit surprised as he is so well established and regarded I didn't think he would want to jump on the over worked Zombie genre. Zombies have taken over everything but a few ships at sea. A virus has created them and a few people seem to have natural immunity and some have been vaccinated. This book is about Wolf Squadron, a family dominated militia type of navy that is attempting to rescue survivors and eventually re-take the world.

Warren Dunham
Mar 01, 2016 Warren Dunham rated it really liked it
Zombie romps are fun and this one certainly focuses on the fun.
What you get zombie apocalypse at sea and it seams to go well enough that I'm rethinking my zombie apocalypse extraction plan. What you don't have a plan in case of zombies? oh well was nice knowing you. That said it does seam a little easy, oh yea sure they work hard there are a few bad guys but supplies come easy and the bad guys are easily taken care of.
Also this book is military porn not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thi
Rob Falcon
Jul 25, 2014 Rob Falcon rated it liked it
Good stuff, though Ringo really needs to update his knowledge base of words he uses though. His military service was so long ago that I have not even heard most of the little sayings he uses in years...and I retired from the military over 2 years ago! Also, while he is at it, I wish he would stop typing dialog from a 16 year old that sounds like its coming out of a 56 year old. Example "...yes, no sir, three bags full sir..." This was a saying from like the 40's-80's! I've never heard anyone in ...more
Samantha Westall
Mar 21, 2015 Samantha Westall rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A Michaels
Oct 16, 2014 A Michaels rated it liked it
So John Ringo has decided to write a four book series with a military theme on a zombie apocalypse. If you like his work, go ahead and read this book. You won't be disappointed if zombie slaying violence is all you expect. I was willing to give the book a three star rating simply because Ringo fans will like the book for this trait alone. Otherwise skip this story if you've already read the previous volume "Under a graveyard sky" and skip to book three "Islands of rage and hope".

To summarize my
Jan 23, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it
Technically not "urban fantasy," since the "zombie apocalypse" in the story is in the form of a medical plague. Still, as the author keeps adding details to make the continued survival of a zombie population work, it's becoming an interesting challenge in suspension of disbelief. For instance, with no mechanical aptitude with tools, weapons or traps, catching rats with their bare hands is not a convincing protein source for the "zombies."
Still, what makes this series intriguing are the character
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John Ringo is a prolific author who has written in a wide variety of genres. His early life included a great deal of travel. He visited 23 foreign countries, and attended fourteen different schools. After graduation Ringo enlisted in the US military for four years, after which he studied marine biology.

In 1999 he wrote and published his first novel "A Hymn Before Battle", which proved successful.
More about John Ringo...

Other Books in the Series

Black Tide Rising (4 books)
  • Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising, #1)
  • Islands of Rage & Hope (Black Tide Rising, #3)
  • Strands of Sorrow (Black Tide Rising, #4)

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“There is a god somewhere that is angry because we’re combining stuff like Cutty Sark with fifty-year-old Laphroaig,” 3 likes
“The gunnery sergeant didn’t crack a smile at the radio intercept of Faith’s concept of a backup plan, an intercept that had caused Commander Bradburn, skipper of the Dallas, to literally fall out of his command chair laughing. Sands managed to watch the video stone-faced as she boarded the Voyage and began her “fifteen minutes of mayhem,” set in the video to the tune of Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping. He managed to keep a straight face the third time she popped back up like a jack-in-the-box after being dogpiled by zombies. He held it in during her overheard running commentary as the rest of the Marines, even the NCOs, started rolling on the deck.

It was when she got the Halligan tool stuck in a zombie’s head and overbalanced that he snorted. When she unstuck her bent machete and it caught a male zombie in the groin he started laughing out loud. When the, admittedly not petite, girl stuck a boot knife in a zombie’s eye then threw him over the side, tears started running down his face and he completely lost his composure as a senior NCO of the United States Marine Corps.”
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