Review: “Strands of Sorrow” by John Ringo

Strands of Sorrow (Book 4 in the Black Tide Rising Series) by John Ringo. Baen Books. 472 pages.

This is the final book in the series I’ve been reading and reviewing about the Smith family and how they survived the zombie apocalypse. The title, Strands of Sorrow, made me think, oh no, one of the lead characters must get killed in the book. But I think it’s a little bit misleading. Maybe the title’s there to keep you on edge.

As this series has continued, the story has expanded in scope and included more characters and lots more things going on. That’s good and not so good. The series started off with one family in New York trying to escape and survive by loading onto a sailboat and living on the East River while a virus raged through Manhattan. Then when things got worse, they sailed away. Halfway through the first book, the father decided it wasn’t enough to survive: they had to save other people too. That became the theme for the rest of the series.

By the time we get to this, the fourth book, Steve Smith (the father) is the military leader of what’s left of U.S. forces, we’ve taken over Guantanamo, and are working on the Marine bases of Parris Island, Blount Island and Camp Lejune. What started off as four people now includes thousands of people. It’s a huge story, and Ringo tries to keep Faith and Sophia, the two Smith daughters, in the middle of the story. But he ends up trying to tell too much. The author ends up going off on tangents, talking about things going on in San Diego without much resolution. It’s a massive story, and probably should have been cut back.

But it was entertaining. The complaint I had early on, of focusing on sexual content relating to a 13 and a 15 year old girl, is for the most part, missing in this book. And he takes the time to develop other relationships with them and those around them. In addition, he finds a satisfactory ending to a story that realistically could continue on for several more books.

I give it four stars out of five.