Realism and zombie stories are not usually two things you would get together, but it’s something that has intrigued a lot of people over the last few decades. What would happen if the Zombie Apocalypse came? How could you really get Zombies?

The Black Tide Rising series by John Ringo tries to answer these questions. In the first chapter, you are introduced to Ringo’s zombies who spring not from a supernatural source but from an engineered flu plague. The making and spread of the zombies is handled in a realistic way with the initial reports, their slow spread with prevention attempts hampered by politics and by the end of the first book a complete collapse in society and humanity. The series follows one family’s escape from the collapsing US and their frantic attempts to save others and hold together a core of people and rebuild.

Product Information

Retailer: Amazon +

Price: ± £3-5 each (Kindle edition)

About John Ringo

John Ringo is an American Science Fiction and thriller author who specialises in military themes. He served in the US military, became a marine biologist then a database manager. In 1999 he wrote A Hymn Before Battle starting his popular Posleen invasion series and has gone on to write almost 50 novels in multiple universes with no sign of slowing down.


There are four books in the series:

There is also an anthology of short stories, Black Tide Rising (Black Tide Rising anthologies Book 1) published on 7 June 2016.

Trigger warning

triggers 100




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Most definitely a cost-effective choice. It’s a brilliant series and with a price tag of around £3.50-£4.69 per book, it’s worth every penny. It is series that will be read and most likely re-read again. And again.


Written by: John Ringo
Series: Black Tide Rising
Pages: 380 – 530 for each book
Available formats: Unabridged audiobook, Kindle edition, Paperback, Hardcover, Audio MP3 CD.
Publisher (Kindle): Baen Books
Release date: Aug 2013 – June 2016
Language: English


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Why is Black Tide Rising so good? Without giving any spoilers, it’s the realism seen in the characterizations. The series cover serious issues, trauma, trauma survivors, post-traumatic stress and in particular, teen trauma survivors extremely well. For those who do not normally read sci-fi, the characters demonstrate not only how to survive and overcome traumatic experiences, but also points out very clearly that different rules apply and that often, what is sane within the right context might seem totally crazy in the ‘real world’ context.

Trauma happens outside of the world most people live in and are accustomed to and quite often the way to recovery is hampered by adults, particularly professionals, who attempt to make survivors fit in with every day normal social structures and it often doesn’t work that way. Ringo’s writing acknowledges this.

It is an excellent, fast paced science fiction thriller, but what makes it stand out is its realism. Recommended.

Ergohacks Essential

The review is based on the Kindle edition of the series. This article was first published on 9 October 2015 and last updated on 15 June 2017.