Upgrade to a better browser, please.

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books

Islands of Rage & Hope

Added By: valashain
Last Updated: valashain

Islands of Rage & Hope

Purchase this book through Purchase this book from Purchase this book from
Author: John Ringo
Publisher: Baen, 2014
Series: Black Tide Rising: Book 3
Book Type: Novel
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-Genre Tags:
Avg Member Rating:
(3 reads / 1 ratings)



With the world consumed by a devastating plague that drives humans violently insane, what was once a band of desperate survivors bobbing on a dark Atlantic ocean has now become Wolf Squadron, the only hope for the salvation of the human race. Banding together with what remains of the U.S. Navy, Wolf Squadron, and its leader Steve Smith, not only plans to survive--he plans to retake the mainland from the infected, starting with North America.

The next step: produce a vaccine. But for do that, Wolf Squadron forces led by Smith's terrifyingly precocious daughters Sophia and Faith must venture into a sea of the infected to obtain and secure the needed materials. And if some of the rescued survivors turn out to be more than they seem, Smith just might be able to pull off his plan.

Once more, exhausted and redlining Wolf Squadron forces must throw themselves into battle, scouring the islands of the Atlantic for civilization's last hope.



Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

--"The Battle Hymn of the Republic"

"Sergeant Hoag, pull your team out," Gunny Choy radioed.

"Never leave a Marine behind, Gunnery Sergeant," Sergeant Sheila Hoag replied.

The gunny's Humvee was high-sided on a pile of infected. More were piling on as he radioed. The team of Marines and some civilian and Navy refugees stuffed into the Humvee were safe. For now. On the other hand, they couldn't get out.

Hopkins was blazing through ammo on the 240 but the infected were swarming onto their Humvee, too. If she didn't watch it she was going to be in the same boat as the gunny.

"Gunnery Sergeant," Hoag radioed, backing around to try to keep some of the infected guessing. "I think if I can get in behind you I can push you off the pile."

The H7D3 virus had hit the base in waves. There had been, in retrospect, a slew of "patient zeros" in a large-scale Navy personnel transfer. There were only 7500 people on the sprawling base and when they were up to four hundred infected in "temporary care facilities" that made the worst gulags on Earth look like a picnic, and another four hundred dead from the virus itself, the base wasn't running so well.

Then the second wave hit. And all hell broke loose.

"If you don't get out of here, you're going to be in the same boat, Sergeant," the gunnery sergeant replied calmly. "We're clocked out on 240. You're about to be clocked out. We just had a civvy turn and bite one of the Navy guys. You are hereby ordered, Sergeant, to save your team and passengers. Make for the log buildings as previously ordered. Conserve your rounds. You're going to need them. Now, go. That's an order."

"Aye, aye, Gunnery Sergeant," Hoag said, putting the Humvee in reverse. She did, in fact, run over two or three infected but managed to keep from getting stuck. She spun out at one point, trying hard not to think about what she'd spun out on. Most of the infected were adults. Most.

"I swear to God if any of you turn on me I will fucking shoot you in the gut," Sergeant Hoag said, backing the Humvee up as fast as it would go. She hit a good place to turn around and practically spun the vehicle out.

They'd gotten the word that the fallback point was the logistics buildings around the piers on Corinaso Cove. The problem being, they were on Corinaso Point. The piers were in sight. If they wanted to try to swim, then fight their way into the buildings through the infected, in hand-to-hand presumably, that would be totally golden. Right now they had to drive from point A to Point B around the cove while not hitting enough infected to get stuck.

She weaved around a couple of zombies and heard the breech click on the 240. They'd started off with three thousand rounds and gotten a resupply at one point. There were only 7500 people on the base. Where the fuck did the ammo go?

She wasn't even sure which log building to make for. There were several around the piers.

"Hopkins, you see any sign of resistance?" she yelled.

"Building Fourteen," Hopkins called. "Riflemen on the roof."

The problem being, there were infected swarming all around Building Fourteen like yellow jackets from a kicked hive. There was no way to get in there.

Two of the main doors slid open and a fire team started wasting infecteds at the opening while someone stood behind them, waving for the Humvee to enter.

She floored it, heading straight for the riflemen and the line of infected. She slammed infected to either side, plowing through them and hoping like hell she wasn't going to get high-sided. She practically jumped the last few as a Marine lance corporal dove to the side to avoid the oncoming vehicle.

Once through the doors she slammed on her brakes and skidded to a stop just short of hitting a pallet of water bottles.

"Everybody out," Hoag said. "Just get the fuck out."

There was a Navy lieutenant JG shoved in the back and that wasn't how a Marine was supposed to address an officer. The pogue could just put her on report for all she cared.

She sat there looking at those water bottles for a long time.

* * *

"We currently have an adequate stock of water. We'll see how long that lasts."

Lieutenant Colonel Craig "Kodiak" Hamilton was a WB: a waterboarder. Camp Delta most officially did not use waterboarding on the detainees. They did use various other methods, mostly psychological, to extract information from the detainees. Colonel Hamilton was one of the intelligence officers "involved" in such extraction. In his case, most figured that he just grinned at detainees and they gave him the locations of their blessed mother. He was 6'4" in his stocking feet and had won a silver medal in "all class" wrestling in the Olympics.

Right now, the whole issue of "perpetual detainment" and the IRCC and Human Rights Watch and all the rest was as relevant as... Well, right now Hoag couldn't really think of anything less irrelevant. Camp Delta had been reformatted, early, for "infected care," then it all went to hell. All Hoag knew was that none of the bastards were in the two facilities designated as fallback points.

The whole group was sitting in the meeting with their ankles tied. That had been practically the first order given. Get separated, tie your ankles. Request permission to untie. If you don't, don't be surprised if you get shot. The riflemen on the roof, still waiting, probably in vain, for more customers, were shackled. Chains allowed them to walk but they could barely run. And they had orders to shoot anyone who turned.

The only group not tied was the response team. And there was another team, tied, eying them. Everybody was eying each other. Too many times people had just turned out of the blue.

"There was a team out shutting off flow to other areas of the base," Colonel Hamilton said. "We're not sure how far they got and we've lost contact at this point. But we have free flow of water from the main tanks to these two buildings. As long as the water holds out, we'll be fine. It will, however, be rationed and we will fill every container we can find or make while it's running.

"Brigadier General Zick has the other building. The plan is to wait until the infected levels drop to the point we can make a breakout. If they do not drop, we will have to wait until someone comes along to break us out. There is a very adequate stock of food for the forty of us. Literally years worth. We will begin processes after this meeting to capture any rainwater we can. Are there any questions?"

"Any idea how long, sir?"

Ryan "Robot" Harris was the Navy lieutenant JG she'd carried in. He worked in base operations was all she knew about him.

"The last word we had was that everyone was in the same boat, Lieutenant," Hamilton said. "But I'm sure that as soon as they can restore order in the U.S., they'll send a team down to pull us out. Or, if we can, we'll self extract back to the U.S. There are boats here that we can do that with."

"Rations will be one ration per day for civilians, one and a half for Marine and Navy. The extra half is because we shall maintain physical fitness standards. We also shall maintain military customs and courtesy. This is a siege. Armies throughout history have withstood sieges with less adequate supplies and preparedness than..."

He paused as one of the Navy petty officers started to thrash.

"Get 'em off me!" the PO1 shouted, unbuckling his pants. "Get 'em off... !"

"No firing," Hamilton said. "Pin him down. Watch the teeth."

Hoag had already grabbed his wrist and was trying to wrestle him onto his face. The problem being, it was hard to wrestle with your feet tied. She and two other NCOs managed to get him pinned as Colonel Hamilton slid a confinement hood over his head. Then the colonel dropped a fast tie around the PO's neck and pulled it tight.

The howling was cut off abruptly but the PO continued to convulse for what felt like forever. Finally, he was still.

"We will need to create a containment area for bodies," Hamilton said, continuing the meeting as if nothing had happened. "That will need to be sealed away from the rest of us or there will be a significant health hazard. I will entertain suggestions on that in a moment...."

* * *

"Idle hands are the devil's handiwork," Colonel Hamilton said as Hoag rounded a corner of shelving. He was leaning up against the shelves, his arms crossed and one foot crossed across the other at the ankles.

The warehouse was big and filled from floor to ceiling with materials. Much of it was food. There were even quite a few pallets of water. It was a good place to ride out a siege.

But there were different kinds of sieges. Maybe back in the old days it was normal to be talking to a teammate and have him suddenly start screaming and clawing at his clothes. Maybe it was normal to have to strangle him to death to conserve rounds.

Maybe it was normal to leave your gunny behind.

She wasn't sure quite why she was wandering on the back side of the warehouse pretty much as far away from her squad as she could get. She also wasn't thinking, definitely wasn't thinking, about the .45 she had in her waistband.

What she did wonder was how Colonel Hamilton managed to always turn up at the wrong place at the wrong time. Only first sergeants were supposed to be able to do that.

"Yes, sir, they are, sir," Hoag said, coming to attention.

"Rest, Sergeant," Hamilton said, waving idly. "I'd start talking about how we need to find more activities for the men and solicit your advice, say that's why I'm here, play it off, but that wouldn't suffice. It wouldn't solve the problem of one of my NCOs slowly coming to the conclusion that if it's supposed to be 'death before dishonor' then maybe death will erase the stain."

"Not sure what you mean, sir," Hoag said.

"It's called 'counseling,' Sergeant Hoag," Hamilton said, straightening up. "Walk with me."

"Yes, sir," Hoag said.

"I was discussing the issue of choices with General Zick, before he turned and left me as senior officer," Hamilton said. "And before the batteries on the radios ran out. Choice, Sergeant, is a terrible thing, did you know that?"

"No, sir," Hoag said.

"It is," Hamilton said. "The French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said that all of life is choice. Since his general view of life was fairly nihilistic, that makes sense. Every choice requires decision. Every decision is a stress. Therefore, every choice is a stress. As you may have been told in leadership training, stress is not just cumulative, it is multiplicative. That is, each stress, small or large, multiplies the previous stress. Americans and Westerners in general, before the Plague, had a multitude of choices in their life. Decisions to be made every moment. Just stop or go on a yellow light was a stress, not to mention when to brake or accelerate. I read a 'weird news' report one time about a man who had killed his brother fighting over who shared the remote. To most, this looked like insanity. To me, it was a sign of the problems of choice and stress in American society. Do you get my meaning, Sergeant?"

"Sort of, sir," Hoag said. "But it still sounds insane."

"Clinically," Hamilton said. "At the point that the one brother killed the other, he was functionally insane. Due to stress. I don't know what other stressors were on him--did he not handle stress well?--but choice had brought him to making the choice to kill his brother. Over which show they were going to watch. If he was being forced to watch Oprah, I suppose it was less insane."

"Yes, sir," Hoag said, chuckling slightly.

"Being in the military under any circumstances involves tremendous stress," Hamilton said. "However, for the juniors, and you are fairly junior, Sergeant, that rarely involves stress related to choice. As a junior, certainly when you were a private, you were given orders and I'm sure you obeyed them. Now, as an NCO, you have more responsibilities, stress, and you have to use your experience and intelligence to expand upon orders. Stress. But you really, still, don't have the stress of choice. Of having to think beyond 'I've been given an order and must make sure my men comply.' The military does that to an extent deliberately. How well one handles stress is, functionally, one of the tests for promotion. Some have the innate ability to simply not feel it. Most have to learn how to manage it. So the military brings people, officers and enlisted, along slowly, teaching them by both classwork and daily operations, how to make good decisions rapidly and functionally and how to handle stress, including the stress involved in choice, wisely. Are you still with me, Sergeant?"

"Yes, sir," Hoag said.

"You may be thinking 'What the fuck is he talking about' but there is a point here," Hamilton said. "You have been very carefully not paying a lot of attention to the forty-five you picked up in the battle. But one of the choice stresses on you is whether you should use the forty-five, which is quick and clean but would waste a precious round, or strangle yourself as we did with your sole remaining squad member, PFC Hopkins. In that case, you're going to use parachute cord; you have it in your right cargo pocket. Tie it to one of the shelves, climb up, put a noose around your neck and do the dance.

"You have formed no strong bonds in the two weeks since we were besieged. None of these people are 'your' people. Some of them are Marines but they are not 'your' Marines. You have no ties to this group. You are fairly sure, as we all are, that most if not all of our families are dead back in the States. There is very little keeping you to this mortal coil. And you are struggling with the question of dishonor in leaving not just other Marines but your gunnery sergeant behind to be eaten by infected. About all you can reply at this point is 'Yes, sir.' "

"Yes, sir," Hoag said, her jaw locked.

"So, Sergeant, here is the question. Are you a Marine, Sergeant?"

"Yes, sir," Hoag said.

"The obvious answer," Hamilton said. "There you are, wearing the uniform, with your sergeant's rank and all. You, obviously, are a Marine. Do Marines obey orders, Sergeant?"

"Yes, sir," Hoag said.

"Then that was what you did," Hamilton said. "Lieutenant Harris confirmed that your orders from your gunnery sergeant were to leave him and his team, and their passengers, behind. If it had been the president and you were given that order, you should have obeyed it. If it was the commandant, you should have obeyed it. For one reason and one reason only: The honor would have been broken if you disobeyed the order. Not to mention we would have lost your team. And we are so very few. There was, in fact, no dishonor. There was great honor on both sides. On the gunny and his team for essentially holding the rear guard, permitting your team to escape, and on yours for obeying their solemn duty and their orders. Honor, Sergeant, is satisfied. I am not asking for agreement. I know that emotionally you do not agree. However, do you concur that I, your commanding officer and a Marine officer with three times as many years as you have in the Corps has stated 'Honor is satisfied'?"

"Yes, sir," Hoag said. "I understand what you are saying and concur that you said it."

"But you are still emotionally unsatisfied," Hamilton said. "Did you read science fiction before the Plague, Sergeant?"

"No, sir," Hoag said. "I really wasn't much of a reader before the Plague, sir."

"And, alas, we have few books in this wretched hellhole," Hamilton said. "I did. I read, but not science fiction, before becoming a Marine officer. However, one of the books that has been on the commandant's reading list for some time is a science fiction novel: Starship Troopers. That book started me on a quest for similar. It was hit and miss at first. Much of it is Sartre-inspired nihilistic dreck. But some is quite good and explores questions of the human condition you rarely find in common fiction or even nonfiction. An example comes to mind of the question of honor. The point that is made about dishonor is that in a situation of death before dishonor, eventually all you have are the dead and the dishonored. When you stand your post you can see the picked skeletons of the dead. We have far too many dead, Sergeant. We do not need more. Do you take my meaning?"

"Yes, sir," Hoag said.

"We are a lifeboat, Sergeant," Hamilton said. "A lifeboat of remaining sentient humanity. A large one but a lifeboat nonetheless. We've seen the infected feeding on each other, feeding on the rats that are feeding on the stores. Finding water. Walking all the way to the fresh water to drink and then apparently walking back to 'their' territories. We don't know how long they will remain. But as long as they remain, we remain. We shall outlast them if it takes weeks, months or years. Because we are so very few. And, Sergeant, when, not if, those doors open, we need, not want nor desire but need, every one of us to walk out of them. Is that need clear, Sergeant?"

"Clear, sir," Hoag said.

"All of us feel that stain of dishonor," Hamilton said. "Survivor's guilt. You just have a particularly specific form. Yet you, also, have a particular gift. You were given the gift of life, Sergeant. The gunnery sergeant did not, foolishly and selfishly, insist that you expend your life and your team's life trying to save him. You were given the gift of life by the gunnery sergeant. The true dishonor to the gunny's memory would be throwing that gift away.

"So I shall leave you to your forty-five and your parachute cord. But I would submit to you, for your consideration, that they are useful items in our future career of clearing the infected from our nation. A career we shall embark upon someday. And, Sergeant, I would very much like to have you with me when we do so. May God grant you wisdom in your choices. However, feel free to use the pistol if that is your choice. One forty-five round more or less won't matter. Just kindly lay out a tarp or something since you'll be leaving us to clear up your mess. Your choice, though."

Copyright © 2014 by John Ringo


There are currently no reviews for this novel. Be the first to submit one! You must be logged in to submit a review in the BookTrackr section above.


No alternate cover images currently exist for this novel.