New York Times bestselling author Taylor Anderson continues the thrilling Destroyermen series of alternate history and military strategy, as the conflict is about to become terrifyingly personal....Captain Matt Reddy and the crew of the USS Walker have been fighting for their lives ever since their ship was swept from the Pacific to another world and they became embroiled in a deadly conflict between their Lemurian allies and the ravening Grik.But things are about to get worse. With Reddy's family and allies held prisoner by the mad General Kurokawa, the mysterious League and evil Dominion plotting schemes of their own, and the Grik trying to build their swarm and concentrate power, Reddy faces danger on all sides.Although desperate to confront Kurokawa, Captain Reddy fears he's subordinating the war effort for personal reasons. But Kurokawa is too dangerous to be left alone. With the mighty League battleship Savoie at his command, he plots a terrible vengeance against Reddy and his tiny, battered destroyer.The stage is set for a devastating cataclysm, and Reddy and his allies will have to risk everything to protect what they hold dear.
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Devil's Due (Destroyermen, #12) Review
- June 13, 2017Wess Rodgers“Devil’s Due” is the 12th volume in The Destroyermen epic, and is absolutely true to its ancestry. Many “alternate history” books and series are centered on either how cool it would be if we could go back to year Y with modern technology T, or on what history might look like if a single event had not happened as it did. Taylor Anderson has cast The Destroyermen in a different paradigm. You know all those extinction events that led to massive changes in the flora and fauna of Terra? Well, what mi “Devil’s Due” is the 12th volume in The Destroyermen epic, and is absolutely true to its ancestry. Many “alternate history” books and series are centered on either how cool it would be if we could go back to year Y with modern technology T, or on what history might look like if a single event had not happened as it did. Taylor Anderson has cast The Destroyermen in a different paradigm. You know all those extinction events that led to massive changes in the flora and fauna of Terra? Well, what might it look like if there were a parallel timeline on which those events hadn’t happened? I’ll give you a clue: Homo Sapiens would not necessarily be the apex predator. He has even taken a different slant on the out-of-season technology by using a pair of Wickes class destroyers, the USS Walker and USS Mahan, which were relics in 1942 when they and their crews were caught up in the fur ball of the Japanese conquest of Indonesia, Java, Borneo, and the Philippines. Fighting for their lives against a Japanese battle cruiser, they take cover in a really weird-looking squall, and when they come out, they are in the same where, but a different when – or something.The Destroyermen find themselves caught up in a war of unimaginable savagery between two species that are about as anti-stereotypical as you could hope to find. Anderson’s development of the personalities of his characters – and their cultures - is subtle and deliciously unexpected, not only in the depth, but the consistency and the… flavor. His heroes are larger than life, and yet touchingly, hauntingly, precisely life like. None of them are bulletproof, either, nor omniscient. They make mistakes and they die, sometimes in those sudden, stupid ways that people die in war, or when fooling around with machinery that is just one step more advanced than perhaps it ought to be. (The technology the Destroyermen have brought to this screwy world gives them an edge for a while, but technology is remarkably portable and subject to unintended propagation.)His villains are every bit as consistent, believable, and true to life as his heroes. Maniacs are maniacs even in their private thoughts and soliloquies, which Anderson allows us to eavesdrop on with a subtlety we may not even notice at first. In short, Anderson’s masterful artistry shows us the hearts and souls with which he has imbued his fantastic cast, and that is what makes the story.By virtue of his knowledge of history, weapons, warfare, and the evolution of tactics, Anderson writes of strategy and tactics that ring as true as a Springfield Armory rifling machine. Devil’s Due and its prequels could be a textbook on the symbiosis of tactics and technology. It is a clinic on what warfare has been like at it evolved from clubs and spears to aircraft and automatic weapons. However, the technology is no more the story of The Destroyermen than the big boat was the story of Noah.Anderson’s battles are things of deafening noise, choking smoke, terror, horror, burnt flesh and heroism. They aren’t for the faint of heart or the young and tender, but there is a simple, frank truth to them – a reality – that keeps them from being cheap, gore-filled shock literature. Much of human nature, good, bad, and all the grays in between is exposed on the battlefield, and Taylor Anderson writes of it all with a power than will scoot your chair across the floor, make your ears ring, and leave you exhausted.The most remarkable thing about Anderson’s epic, though, is in the tiny details. Now, he doesn’t do like some authors and list the technical specifications of a firearm just to show off, though he is clearly expert enough to do that to the satiation of any buff. There will be a word or two in a sentence, or a phrase in a paragraph that covers the stark ribs and stringers of the narrative like the linen that covered the bones of Eddie Rickenbacker’s Spad. Texture is the word I find most descriptive. Anderson has created a whole world that can not only be experienced through his descriptions of the scenery, sounds, smells, and tastes, but is also felt in the texture he gives it through all those details that are actually all around us all the time, but to which we have grown habituated and jaded.The Destroyermen is not fluff, but it most certainly is not of the lurid shock genre, either. It’s a literary porterhouse, with a loaded baked potato, an exquisitely crisp, salad (bleu cheese, thanks) and a frost-covered glass of… whatever you like.As for “Devil’s Due,” it’s all those things, brought to us by a style that has been honed and balanced like the finest Damascus steel blade. We tread along incredibly complex plot lines that intersect and diverge like trails in dense woods and over rugged mountains. We brush past characters we met long ago, who, true to themselves, have come to this point by their own paths. We nod, look them in the eye, and wonder what will become of them, and when we find out, it’s right and true. We are proud to have known them, even if only briefly at a lonely LP in a hostile jungle. Anderson writes of the warrior ethos in understated terms that, like a whisper, overwhelm with their power. Read “Devil’s Due” where you can laugh out loud, let your heart twist in your chest, and shout at the pages, “Give ‘em cold steel, Boys!” Oh, and have some tissues handy, because while it’s not all sadness, it is all intimately personal and right here.Well done, Taylor. Keep ‘em coming.more
- June 14, 2017Daniel ShellenbargerAt this point in the series, a spoiler-free review is just too hard, so I'm going to let it all out. So, Blood in the Water was a mixed bag for me, I thought Taylor Anderson wrote it quite well and the story was interesting, culminating in an epic carrier battle, but I HATED the Savoie-Amerika sublot since it was so reminiscent of the Company plot from back around books 4-6, what with Sandra getting kidnapped by theoretically neutral villains who attacked an Allied ship for no good reason. Well, At this point in the series, a spoiler-free review is just too hard, so I'm going to let it all out. So, Blood in the Water was a mixed bag for me, I thought Taylor Anderson wrote it quite well and the story was interesting, culminating in an epic carrier battle, but I HATED the Savoie-Amerika sublot since it was so reminiscent of the Company plot from back around books 4-6, what with Sandra getting kidnapped by theoretically neutral villains who attacked an Allied ship for no good reason. Well, Anderson has repaid that frustration with one of his best stories yet. After two straight books of being on the defensive, the Allies have finally consolidated their position sufficiently in Madagascar (and the allied south African Republik of Real People has finally got its legions ready to march north into enemy territory) to be able to push out and they have a new target: Zanzibar. Thanks to the events in Blood in the Water, they've discovered that Zanzibar is the hiding place of Captain Reddy's nemesis, the Japanese battlecruiser captain Kurokawa, and his surviving crew, who have, throughout the series, provided the Grik (the semi-sapient all-devouring velociraptor-like main antagonists) with so much technical and martial support for no better reason than Kurokawa's obsession with continuing the war from our world in the new one he found himself in (that and his own megalomania). Thanks to the fascist League (a mix of Italians, French, Germans, and Spaniards from a different alternate world who rule the Mediterranean littoral), Kurokawa is now in possession of a slightly-owned battleship and Captain Reddy's wife, but in spite of this drastic shift in the balance of naval forces and the potential for blackmail, his time is up. After 10+ books of squeaking out of each disastrous defeat, Kurokawa has backed himself into a corner and for all the forces at his disposal, his men are worn out and after the losses they took in the last book, they are no longer a match for the Allies, who methodically undertake to eliminate Kurokawa once and for all, and (SPOILER WARNING (yup, spoiler warning within a spoiler warning, it's spoiler-ception! DUH! DUH! DUUH!)) IT TOTALLY WORKS. Finally, after too many close escapes, Kurokawa is dead, and what a satisfying death it was. It's not without sacrifices by the Allies (once again, we lose several major (and well-loved) characters; also, the P-40's are gone, damn, but at least they went out well), but it feels like Anderson has turned a corner and is out of the plot-doldrums of the past couple books. That said, as with Blood in the Water, we only get small doses of the eastern front (fighting the "Holy" Dominion in the Americas, mostly because the Dominion's engaged in a fighting retreat and the Allies are trying to chase them, which doesn't really make for much in the way of interesting reading). Likewise, Halik (the renegade Grik), Niwa (his Japanese friend/advisor), and Svec (the gruff Czech cavalry officer whose volunteer legion of Czechs and continental lemurians has been shadowing/aiding Halik for the allies) vanish entirely from the story (they're mentioned but we don't get any chapters in Persia concerning Halik's Revolution, which is a shame), and sadly, there's very little in the way of new tech this time around (better torpedoes and mines, though the Allies' first cruiser, U.S.S. Gray, is nearing completion; oh, and the allies roll out machine gun-armed tanks in battle for the first time, how could I have forgotten! That was pretty cool, now if they can only combine their tank chassis with the Republic's 75mm breech-loaders, then the Grik will really be in trouble). On the other hand, the U.S.S. Donaghey gets a much-enlarged subplot as it encounters a series of League and Dominion warships in the Atlantic and its captain, Greg Garrett, must use all his cunning if he's to make it to the Caribbean and link up with the New United States forces with which our heroes are tentatively allied and coordinate their efforts against the Doms. This makes for some of the most entertaining bits of the story as it brings the scale of the action back down to more personal level with interesting single ship actions. Basically, I loved Devil's Due and considered giving it five stars (would've been the first in the series to achieve that), but ultimately decided not to due to the fact that Anderson makes a big step back in terms of info-dumping as this book is just loaded with sections where characters rehash information from previous books, something that has always been a problem with this series but which he'd reined in somewhat for the past few books. Still, thanks to the Allies scoring several major victories, it feels like the Western Theater is finally in hand, even if the Grik don't know it yet. Given how the series has been going I wouldn't be surprised if the next book saw the end of the Grik Empire, possibly pulled apart from within as the thinking-Grik Army that Esshk has built (but doesn't really understand) loses confidence in its leaders and pulls down the whole thing on itself (note that a couple times in this book New Grik not only are convinced to surrender but willingly switch sides, which just goes to show that for all that Kurokawa and Esshk needed thinking Grik to fight their war, the thinking Grik don't necessarily need them or their war). On the other hand, I'm getting a sense that for all I was sure the Holy Dominion was done with two books ago, their increasing contact with the League might well be a precursor to an overt League intervention in the eastern Caribbean, especially if the allies take the Pass of Fire and link up with the N.U.S. in the western Caribbean, which seems like it'll be the focus of the next book. Given the dramatic failure of the League's campaign in the Indian Ocean, which seems to have only served to firmly unite the Republic, the United Homes, and the Empire and also put them in possession of a powerful battleship (U.S.S. Adar? It sounds so much better than U.S.S. Savoy; nah, they'll probably give it to the Republic as a replacement for the Amerika as their new War Palace, especially since the Republic has the manpower and is currently short on blue water naval vessels), it would seem logical that the League would feel that a more direct opposition to the Allies would be necessary to keep them entangled in wars far away from Europe, especially since the Allies are increasingly willing to ignore the League's protestations of neutrality and shoot them on sight (wisely so). Also interested to see how the Allies will try to overcome the loss of the P-40's, especially now they know that the League has similarly advanced aircraft at its disposal (my preference, reverse engineer the remaining Allison engines and build some pseudo-P-38's: good range, excellent air-air and air-ground capability and the redundancy of two engines, but that might not be possible without aluminum). Anyway, all in all, another really fun addition to the series and I can't wait for the next volume.more
- June 24, 2017Sean SmartI am enjoying this series and it's well written for the most part but my only issue is that it now seems so drawn out. You read the latest volume and hope to see some progress in the war, and you do read it of various battles and skirmishes but as I see it no real progress.SPOILER ALERT - The only real exception of course in this book is that finally the evil Japanese Kurokawa is killed off.But so many enemies now, the Grik, the Holy Dominion and now the League of Tripoli. So many fronts; Madaga I am enjoying this series and it's well written for the most part but my only issue is that it now seems so drawn out. You read the latest volume and hope to see some progress in the war, and you do read it of various battles and skirmishes but as I see it no real progress.SPOILER ALERT - The only real exception of course in this book is that finally the evil Japanese Kurokawa is killed off.But so many enemies now, the Grik, the Holy Dominion and now the League of Tripoli. So many fronts; Madagascar, Zanzibar, India, Africa, the Atlantic and the Americas. We see mostly glimpses of these but as I said little progress few conclusions. It's quite frustrating and now feel I have at least 2 of the latest volumes and we are no further forward? When he series started it had great pace and bounded along seeing change and progress but it seems bogged down with all the new places, new villains and characters.On one hand that's great, we are exploring this new world but on the other it's feeling longer and more complex than the Second World War from whence they came!! I am sure fans will enjoy it thoughmore
- June 20, 2017Aaron AndersonThis book was pretty good. It is starting to fall into some of the same traps of long series though.It's covering so wide an area of two (or four) different wars, so many different plotlines and characters, it's getting very complicated. I still enjoyed it, but I don't think I remember a ton of the more minor characters from prior books when they come into this one.more
- June 26, 2017AndreasThe Destroyermen series continues. This installment focuses on the African front, as the Alliance, with new friends, prepares to assault the Grik heartland. Kurokawa still remains on Zanzibar, however, and must be dealt with.The scope of the series is becoming worryingly broad, but Mr. Anderson seems to have decided to focus on one war at a time, as it were. This allows the reader to focus on one campaign without constant and jarring flipping back and forth. The series shows no signs of slowing The Destroyermen series continues. This installment focuses on the African front, as the Alliance, with new friends, prepares to assault the Grik heartland. Kurokawa still remains on Zanzibar, however, and must be dealt with.The scope of the series is becoming worryingly broad, but Mr. Anderson seems to have decided to focus on one war at a time, as it were. This allows the reader to focus on one campaign without constant and jarring flipping back and forth. The series shows no signs of slowing down, with the stakes remaining high and the action tense and exciting. A page turner.http://www.books.rosboch.net/?p=2060more
- June 18, 2017ValerieVery goodMy only complaint about this book is that you must read all the books in this series in order to know who is who & what has come before. It is definitely not a stand alone book. I enjoy this series very much & have read them all in order. Interesting take on time travel & very well written.more
- June 22, 2017AdamAn excellent continuationThe start felt a little slow, jumping back and forth to pick up where the last book left off. It picks up pretty quickly though and the prime focus is the western front. It concludes one threat arc leaving the next book to return to the main eastern and western threads. Hopefully the next book will contain more of the eastern front.more
- June 25, 2017BrianAs good as everAnderson's latest in the Destroyermen series is s good as ever. While some may want more detail about the entire scope of the war, the focus on a single theater lent itself well to a tightly packed story.
- June 22, 2017Kevin BakerIt's been awhile since the last one, so getting all caught up again took up a good third of the book, but once again the action was well-written, the characters absorbing, the losses painful. I look forward to the next in the series. Hope it doesn't take as long.more
- June 29, 2017SteveLove the book; love the series. Just a little difficult keeping track of everyone due to wacky names. I sort of understand why the wacky names, but tough to keep track, especially at the beginning of the book when it's been a year since reading the prior one. Looking forward to the next.more
- June 20, 2017Lee BassGreat continuation of the story. Can't wait for the next one.
- June 22, 2017Harry L SkinnerGreat seriesThe saga continues to entertain. Quality of writing is outstanding. This is a great story written by a great writer.
- June 30, 2017KevinGreat seriesGreat series. Continues to keep me at the edge of my seat wonder what is going to happen next. Can't wait!
- April 21, 2017James NordmanOutstanding! This book is another incredible yarn by Mr. Anderson. The characters are authentic. The scenes are enthralling. The story moves at an awesome pace!
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