Just Finished Reading: Destroyermen – Rising Tides by Taylor Anderson (FP: 2011)
There is, it would seem, not peace for the wicked – or at least not for the crew of USS Walker trapped in a strange world where humans failed to evolve. After helping to defeat the ravenous Grik horde the next stage of the weird version of WW2 needs to be planned and assets put in place. New ships need to be built, new technologies, unfamiliar to the Lemurians or their new erstwhile allies from the New British Empire, such as radio developed and a million other things need to be fixed, taught or found. Speaking of discoveries, the floating of the half submerged submarine goes on apace under the angry watch of a nearby volcano and a beached cargo ship carrying a precious cargo of boxed fighter planes has to be cleared of its new inhabitants before it can be refloated. Meanwhile Walker herself is in hot pursuit of Company ships holding several of his crew hostage, including the captain’s head nurse and love of his life. As they approach waters patrolled by the Empire’s warships tensions rise – they need allies not enemies and the British have something the American’s are very short of: women. But deep in the heart of the Empire is a snake and that snake has the backing of another human power yet to be encountered by the US crew – the Dominion, a corrupted version of Catholicism and South American blood worship. Just how complicated can things get on this strange world whose horizons are expanding with every mile they sail. What strange creatures and strange cultures are just around the next hill and how many will want the American’s dead if only to take their guns.
This is the 5th book in the Destroyermen series and I must admit that I have enjoyed every one. The author has given himself enough room and enough scope to create an entire world to play in (and one that is just chock full of possibilities only so far hinted at). After 5 books we’re still in the Pacific. We have some idea of what’s happening in Asia and India – Grik central – and now we have hints of what’s going on in South America – Dominion territory – but no clue as to what is to be found in the Northern hemisphere. Then there’s the possibility of rifts with other Earth’s and not just our own. That could pretty much find anything that the author can imagine. But he’s not one to pluck things out of a multi-dimensional hat just to get his characters out of a bind. They have real (and potentially tedious) logistic problems which plague them on a daily basis. These are not overcome in a day and we ‘see’ great efforts (generally in the background) to resolve them. The author knows what he needs to do to move the story along but knows that he can take his time to build character, build a believable world and populate it with reasonable internally motivated characters. It is, to be honest, fascinating to watch unfold before your eyes. Just one thing: in line with prevailing trends the author is not afraid putting his main characters in peril and is not averse to actually killing off major characters when the plot demands it. No one is safe and the heroes don’t always win and don’t always survive encounters with the enemy (or random bug bites!) so it’s best not to get too attached to your favourite characters. I’m not sure if I have book 6 in my stack but if not I’ll be buying it soon. After that there’s still another 6 books to come so far! Maybe we’re going to see much more of the world the Destroyermen now call home! I do hope so.