Title: Under a Graveyard Sky

Author: John Ringo

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Zombies are real. And we made them. Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? The Smith family is, with the help of a few marines.

When an airborne “zombie” plague is released, bringing civilization to a grinding halt, the Smith family, Steven, Stacey, Sophia and Faith, take to the Atlantic to avoid the chaos. The plan is to find a safe haven from the anarchy of infected humanity. What they discover, instead, is a sea composed of the tears of survivors and a passion for bringing hope.

For it is up to the Smiths and a small band of Marines to somehow create the refuge that survivors seek in a world of darkness and terror. Now with every continent a holocaust and every ship an abattoir, life is lived under a graveyard sky.


When I saw Under a Graveyard Sky on Netgalley, I immediately clicked the request button. I just can’t get enough of zombie books (you won’t catch me watching zombies shows, though – too gross!), and this sounded intriguing. It takes place right as a plague is decimating the human population, causing chaos and countless, bloody loss of life. The first 15% of the book felt a little draggy, as the author expounded on the science behind the man-made illness that was causing the infected to attack and eat their fellow humans. The biology of it exhausted me, but not to worry! Once things got underway with the out of control sickness, I was hooked, hooked, hooked! I was reading this everywhere – when I was filling the gas tank, standing in line at the store, even making extended visits to the bathroom so I could have a little peace and quiet time away from the puppers so I could find out what happened next!

This is a blast to read. The Smith family has fled to the sea in an attempt to escape the certain death that comes after contracting the virus, which is a modified form of rabies. The Smiths have been training for the end of the world for years, and they are more than prepared for the challenges ahead. What they didn’t really count on was their daughters getting caught up right in the thick of things back on shore. Steve’s brother has promised to keep the girls safe – and occupied – if they are allowed to help back in New York. While this section of the tale didn’t make much sense to me, it did get the action firmly moving forward. Faith, the youngest daughter, seems to have a zombie beacon strapped to her back, because everywhere she turns, there’s another one, ready to bite her face off. The fact that Steve and Stacey allowed their girls to go ashore once they were relatively safe on their boat didn’t seem like a smart idea to me, especially when they decide to go to a concert in the park. In the dark. In the middle of a zombie apocalypse. But no matter, it got my heart racing at the mere thought of being in that much danger, self-inflected or not, and made for very entertaining reading.

Once the family gets back on the water and sets sail for parts unknown, things really get nuts. After rescuing a young girl, the only survivor after her family turns and tries to eat her, from their yacht, Steve has a new mission in life. He isn’t going to take this zombie thing sitting down. No way! Steve is going to save as many people as he can, and take out as many zombies as he can, because there are people out there trapped and starving on boats just like Tina’s. Now, I never stopped to think about what it would be like to be trapped in a cabin with no food or water while my family was locked outside, noisily eating each other. Now that I have, well, I don’t know that being on a ship in the middle of the ocean would be such a good idea after all. Especially if someone was infected, but we didn’t find out until it was too late. What do you do? Try to throw them overboard before they bite your brains out? Not a pleasant thought, any way you contemplate it.

The sea rescues did get a little repetitive, at least until they got to the cruise ship. Then it was Holy Crap, you have GOT to be kidding me! How are a handful of people going to wade through that many zombies? Despite some lags in pacing, I found this a fun, fun read. The challenges faced by the small band of survivors made for compelling reading. I couldn’t put my reader down, and I blew through this book in no time flat. My one, major complaint? Those three dreaded words on the last page – To Be Continued. NO!! Really??? Why couldn’t there be just a teeny tiny bit of closure?! The wait for To Sail a Darkling Sea isn’t THAT bad, but come on! It won’t be out until February of next year!

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher