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Book Review: Strands of Sorrow

A Review of Strands of Sorrow by John Ringo

By Avery Abernethy, 28 January 2015

Strands of Sorrow is the 4th and (claimed by the author) final book in Ringo’s Zombie Apocalypse series.  Wolf Squadron has manufactured the vaccination to the zombie apocalypse virus and has inoculated all of the US Navy crewmen on submarines. But everyone who became a zombie will stay a zombie. So almost all of the world’s population is either a zombie or was eaten by zombies.

With several thousand US servicemen, the US military, with civilian support, starts the initial operations to take back North America.  They start with some isolated military bases and eventually fight to retake Camp Lejeune in North Carolina – one of the primary training bases for the US Marine Corps. This starts an entertaining side story about the living hell of staying in US Marine Basic Training for almost a full year, unable to leave due to the zombie hordes. This leads to Ringo’s take on the difference between training officers, combat officers, and logistics officers.

Wolf Squadron forces eventually try to locate someone in the civilian command structure of the US Government who can retake control of the effort to free the country. This goes horribly wrong and then gets corrected.   I cannot say more: discussing this further would provide massive spoilers.

I both enjoyed this book and the entire series. The fourth book stops with almost the entire USA and the rest of the world overrun with zombies, but with the nucleus of a force and a strategy to eventually rid the world of the zombies through combat and other means of destruction. Ringo holds out no hope that the zombies can be cured and rejoin rational humanity.

One thing about the series bothered me and I reread the first book to confirm my memory. The zombie plague was an intentional bio-weapons attack by an unknown group.  The way the zombie plague struck the planet, it was clear that no nation state was behind the attack. Wolf Squadron and the rest of the renewed US military all want to track down and kill those individuals behind the attack.  But the series ends without those responsible for the plague being located. This is quite logical for the series, but leaves the door open to additional books where the mastermind is identified and vengeance is attempted.

If you like well thought out and interesting post-apocalyptic fiction you should pick up the series.  If you like zombie plague books, you will especially like a well-constructed, well written and logical take on the genre. And if you like books where the reasoning behind military command structures and the relationship between civilians and the military is discussed in a crisis situation, you will also like the series.  For these reasons, I think the appeal of this series goes beyond that of a generic “zombie plague” book.

 

Avery Abernethy is a Professor of Marketing at Auburn University who lives with his wife and two rescue dogs in Auburn, Alabama.


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