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Into the Storm: Destroyermen, Book One
Taylor Anderson
Narrated by William Dufris, unabridged
Tantor Media, 16 hours

Into the Storm: Destroyermen, Book One
Taylor Anderson
Taylor Anderson has a Master's Degree in History and has taught that subject at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. He is the author of a historical work entitled The Life and Tools of the Rocky Mountain Free Trapper and a number of short stories and articles. He lives in Granbury, Texas, with his family.

Taylor Anderson Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sarah Trowbridge

With Into the Storm, Taylor Anderson launches a promising series with an intriguing premise. The year is 1942. Three months have passed since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and things are not going well for the Allies in the Pacific. Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy has recently assumed command of the destroyer USS Walker, a venerable relic of World War I. The story opens in the aftermath of the disastrous Battle of the Java Sea, in which Walker narrowly escaped the destruction suffered by her sister ships Pope, Exeter, and Encounter. With Japanese vessels in hot pursuit, Matt Reddy steers his ship into a squall, hoping to throw the enemy off the trail. But there is something very unusual about this particular squall. When they come out on the other side, the destroyermen soon realize that they have traveled much farther than they expected.

To all appearances at first, Walker still sails the Pacific waters her crew has come to know in the preceding months. The islands look the same... at first. The earliest hint that they have emerged in an alternate reality is the sighting of what they first mistake for a submarine, but turns out to be a giant sea creature resembling a plesiosaur. When Reddy and his crew approach the coast of Bali, only to see a herd of dinosaurs placidly grazing, they must face the fact that an extreme shift or displacement of some kind has occurred. Shortly after the Bali dinosaur sighting, Walker and her destroyermen have an even closer encounter that dramatically illustrates the difference between the Earth they left behind and the one they find themselves on now.

For it seems that on this version of Earth, humans have not evolved as an intelligent species. Reddy and his crew meet up with the seafaring species who call themselves "the People," and learn of their age-old conflict with the ruthless and war-like Grik. As in the Pacific they left behind them, battles are frequent between the warring parties, and soon Reddy feels he has no choice but to become involved in the fighting, and to choose a side.

Readers looking for a subtle rendering in shades of gray of conflict among combatants will not find it here. This is a black-and-white story of good guys versus bad guys, with very little time wasted on wondering which is which. The "People" are furry mammals (Reddy and crew come to call them "Lemurians"), while the aggressive Grik are reptilian, so it should come as no great surprise which side the Navy decides to back. However, once the reader accepts this us-versus-them, good-versus-evil setup and resolves to enjoy the ride, it is an enjoyable one indeed. There is plenty here to interest naval fans and World War II enthusiasts, in addition to the entertainment provided by the well-constructed alternate reality scenario. As the first of a trilogy, Into the Storm serves to set the scene and get the action well underway in preparation for Books Two and Three (Crusade and Maelstrom), so readers should be prepared for a moderate cliffhanger at the end, and get set to enjoy the continuing story.

The always delightful William Dufris does a fine job here with the many voices of the destroyermen and the Lemurians. Whether narrating a dramatic, action-packed battle scene or relating the more leisurely inner monologues of Matt Reddy or Chack-Sab-At, Dufris keeps the listener's interest focused on the story and the characters in it. Those who enjoy military science fiction and alternate history with a light, Saturday-matinee-serial touch should give Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen trilogy a listen.

Copyright © 2009 Sarah Trowbridge

Sarah Trowbridge reads (and listens) compulsively, chronically, and eclectically. She is a public librarian in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

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