Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Into The Storm - Taylor Anderson

Into The Storm
Destroyermen, Book 1
Taylor Anderson

Military SF

While trying to outrun a superior Japanese force during World War II, the USS Walker, helmed by Matt Reddy, heads into a squall. The idea is to gain cover in what is clearly a losing battle. The Walker was in service during WWI, and not much has been updated. On the other side of the squall is safety; or so it would appear.

It soon becomes clear that, while the water and land masses of the Southeast Asia are much the same, nearly everything else has changed. The Japanese ships and aircraft are nowhere to be seen. The seas are populated with gigantic, man-eating fish. And, grazing beyond the shore, is a herd of creatures that look amazingly like small-scale brontosaurs. And, while the destroyermen have left one war, they’ve landed in the middle of another. There are two intelligent races in this place who have been at odds for as long as either can remember.

Fans of military fiction and sf will love this novel, the first in a series. The story seems a bit slow to start, with much attention given to the initial battle with the Japanese. Clearly, the military enthusiast reader will disagree on this point. A little perseverance pays great dividends when the sf aspects kick in, and the crew begins to realize that they’re someplace ‘other.’ The characters all have very realistic and varied reactions to the overwhelming experience.

The introduction of the two races is done very well, by introducing an individual, then expanding the reader’s view to include the surrounding, believable, culture. The juxtaposition of the familiar land and sea with the completely alien, yet somewhat recognizable, creatures is done gradually and to great effect. I admit that I’m not a huge fan of military fiction, but this author has done a lot to change my mind on that score. The next book is due this fall, and I’m looking forward to it.

Rating: 8
June 2008
ISBN# 978-0-451-46207-7 (hardcover)


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