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

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,713 Ratings  ·  166 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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Rating details
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Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zombie
Book number 2 in this series engages what a series book 2 need be doing.
Building on the story from book 1, the Smith family continues it's at sea rescue operations thus their forces grow as more and more survivors are found.
Their first attempts are made at clearing zombie infested towns, i.e. small Caribbean islands.
New, fun characters are added. New whole crews are put together as their flotilla increases in size.
The post zombie apocalypse world in it's early stages of development.

Book 1 Und
Mr. Matt
Jan 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016, zombies, terribad
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 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,
Carolyn F.

Oh my gosh, this book just starts off offensive. There are a group of survivors in a room (by the way, most of the women being called a "split", not female or women - it's "here comes a split to save us", "the other room had one split"). And the single woman is told she better make rules about sex because it's happening whether she likes it or not. So if this were a room of guys, would the most feminine male just learn to love taking it up his "split"? I liked this series until this boo
Bob Milne
Dec 06, 2013 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
Dec 27, 2013 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
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
Oct 03, 2015 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!?!?
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The zombie apocalypse continues as Wolf Squadron starts to get its act together and begins preparations to retake the mainlands . . . someday.
Mike Apgar
Jan 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Meh. More of the same clichés and can I say I really find the Smith girls not at all believable. Lots of references to, I'm assuming, some online forum or community with the comments like ".45 because there is no .46" and 9mm vs .45 and a few (well, several) others. I mean I like guns and I like zombies but it gets old.
Keith Lord
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a good not great book. With all the zombie books and tv shows out there this series tries to be unique in that it mostly takes place on the ocean instead of land. Ringo's books are quick fun reads that keep the stories moving. So this is an enjoyable easy read.
Patrick S.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible
The second book in the series builds really well on the first. There is more formalization of a military and political make up in the post-zombie apocalypse world. Honestly, the military and tactical aspects of this book is really what draws me into the story. This novel introduces a few more unique characters that really add to the story. It's not just the Smith family are the best and only they are the best. There is even a character that is set up for the next book that should add to the stor ...more
Shannon Luchies
Mar 08, 2014 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
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved, Loved, Loved it. The story of at sea rescue of zombie infested boats continues, and takes a side trip to the Canary Islands. In preparation for the next stage of the plan, and waiting out the storm season, Wolf Squadron continues to rescue, train and re-purpose all the survivors it can find. The bigger they get, the more "human politics" tries to mess things up. "But you're not doing enough for . . . " becomes a sub-theme for a little while, but is handled in typical Ringo leading charact ...more
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Okay I'm going to assume that you read the previous book in the series under a graveyard sky if not you should definitely definitely read it first this book is a direct continuation of the story and you will be completely lost if you try and jump in on the second book.
This has everything that made the first book worthwhile reading. Fun and exciting characters, intelligent planning, random historical facts and tidbits and most importantly a well thought out and as rational as it can be zombie A
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
John Ringo has never been shy about putting his beliefs in his work, and To Sail a Darkling Sea is no exception.

He has a clear hierarchy of competence in all of his works, and very little time for political correctness. To be honest, I don't agree with all his beliefs, but I don't have to. It may not be how the world works, but I'm perfectly willing to accept that that's how his world works in the book. Before I go further, I do want to make it clear that I'm not accusing him of either racism or
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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,
Jan 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
The premise was great – the only true way to survive the Zombie Apocalypse is by taking to sea – but sadly it did not live up to its initial promise.
If you like discussions of weapons and their efficacy, military hardware and endless fights where these are deployed, then you will enjoy the book. Ringo is not strong on character development. The reader is usually given a thumbnail sketch of a character when they are first introduced and not much changes after that. Indeed, I wondered why some we
Feb 13, 2015 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
Jun 23, 2016 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.
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
Jun 07, 2014 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.
Coyora Dokusho
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read 2 times


excellent but as far as I can tell the cover has nothing to do with the book


The deeper it gets into the military discipline... the more bored I am, but fortunately it's just a few pages here and there!!! It's probably good that I never joined the military to bedevil my sergeants... I just don't trust people enough...
Staci Corcoran
Apr 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Still haven't figured out why I like these books. Little or no regular plot, just a litany of day-to-day maneuvers, unrealistic characters and situations (seriously? on the water for months and months, and no STORMS?). But I do like them.
Whitney Pohl
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Not bad, but definitely a "middle of the series" book.
ryan hildner
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've have ever read

One of the best books I have ever read. I love the imagery of the epilogue. Beautiful and can't wait to get the next book
Carl Heinz
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
And now the wait for the next book in the series. An enjoyable read that kept me focused.
Book 2 of the Black Tide Rising series is the continuation of the exploits of the Wolf Squadron, a rag-tag flotilla of ships and survivors of the zombie apocalypse. John Smith and his daughters Sophia (age 15) and Faith (age 13) continue to save as many people as possible at sea while pushing forward with plans to save humanity by reclaiming the land. First, they have to perfect their techniques for moving the fleet and clearing some beachheads.

The plot of this sequel is basically the continuing
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK follow up in a so far OK series.

There's so much awful about this series, but so much good, too. Let's start with the good. It's a really interesting take on a zombie apocalypse. I like the direction he decided to take the series. From pointless meandering to a solid objective. It's kinda cool to see. The action is pretty good, too.

The characters, though. Good lord. I've noticed that a lot of the complaints I've seen have to do with Faith and Sophia. And they're entirely well founded. I thor
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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 (5 books)
  • Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising, #1)
  • Islands of Rage & Hope (Black Tide Rising, #3)
  • Strands of Sorrow (Black Tide Rising, #4)
  • The Valley of Shadows (Black Tide Rising, #5)

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“Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share.” 6 likes
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