Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo

 A typical Ringo caper, aside from the lack of graphic sex, but there's plenty of grue and gore to make up for it. A synthetic virus has been released worldwide by malefactors unknown, which begins with flu-like symptoms, highly contagious, and proceeds to neurological effects, turning people into naked, shambling, ravening hulks, whose bites are also very contagious, and rapidly the world is facing the big ZA. One family of preppers gets early warning about the onslaught of zombies and rapidly evacuates from the mainland to a sailboat they have purchased in a hurry. The father, Steve, is an ex-special forces Aussie expat, and his wife, Stacey, is a competent engineer (shades of Heinlein's female characters). Their elder daughter, Sophia (knowledge) is a bit on the geeky side, and does a stint as a lab tech for a private entity creating a vaccine for its executives and their families and key personnel, while the younger daughter, Faith, is more of a gun geek, and turns into a zombie killing machine extraordinaire.

I feel like Ringo spends far too much time simply setting the scene for this tale. It starts fast, but then bogs down for a while while he recounts what's happening at the semi-evil megacorporation, the CDC, NYPD, and so forth. Of course, if Steve and his family didn't hang around the harbor and allow Sophia to work with the ex-CDC scientist developing the vaccine, they might not have the information about the methodology to trade later on in the book. There's also a great scene when the family and some security folks go out for dinner at a mafia hangout for one last Italian meal in NYC and end up doing a big Escape from New York routine, cutting their way through the hordes with full and semi-auto weaponry.

Once they're on the high seas, the "meat" of the tale begins to unfold, and we get a glimpse of where Ringo intends to take the series. Not sure why he's taking a hiatus from the science fiction Troy Rising series he was writing, but perhaps he's just cashing in on the zombie craze while it's hot and will get back to it when things cool down. We'll see how the zombie killing action holds up over time before rendering judgement on this one.

1 comment:

Bob Milne said...

An interesting read. Definitely flawed in a few areas - particularly the characters - but a heck of a lot of fun. I've never really fallen into the whole zombie craze, but I am interested to see where he'll take the story next.