My Reading List: Taylor Anderson’s DestroyermenBy
I don’t do reviews. That’s not what this is.
I won’t tear down other writers on a public forum. I’m not going to add to the talk show blather which sometimes substitutes for honest debate over differing opinions. I do just fine as a writer, and if my peers are setting the bar higher, that’s not a problem for me. I feel I can get over it without sticking a foot into their path.
That said: one of the most common questions I get as Loren-L.-Coleman-the-writer is, “What do you read?”
The answer is, I read a lot. I read somewhere between 2-3 full novels in an average week. This includes re-reading a favorite from time to time (or even binging for a month straight, recently, on a favorite series).
What I recently finished reading was Rising Tides, book five of Anderson’s Destroyermen saga. I am always leery picking up an alternate history (or in this case, alternate world) novel because I’m spoiled by Harry Turtledove. So when I picked up Into the Storm (book one) I steeled myself to be fair, and give Anderson a chance before digging out one of Harry’s Videssos Cycle books or his new Atlantis series.
When I surfaced, two days later, Mr. Anderson had a new devoted reader.
It’s a good thing B&N isn’t far away, and that I had a weekend in there to catch up on at least a little sleep. I burned through the first four books and was lucky enough to be involved in the series just as book five hit the stands. the only downside to binge reading like this is you have to come down (because you eventually run out of books).
Destroyermen hits a lot of my favorite buttons. It’s military-science fiction–or maybe military-fantasy would be a better sub-genre–with lot sof action-packed scenes. It’s also historical; Mr. Anderson goes to great extremes to get his naval technology and (according to my own research) the historical attitudes correct. In fact, somewhere in the first book I quit looking up facts that were beyond my immediate knowledge of the period because I quickly trusted Mr. Anderson to get it right. That’s a rare gift.
You may have noticed by now that I’m not spending a lot of time talking about the story. And I won’t. I won’t spoil the book for others, and I wrote enough book reports in high school to satisfy any deep-seated love of ancient card catalogs. So I’ll paraphrase some material readily found on the dust jackets, and call it good.
Destroyermen is a parallel universe world where a WWII destroyer (technically, a pre-WWII vessel) passes through a world-shifting vortex re: The Final Countdown. The captain and his fearless crew find themselves steaming along in a new Earth where fantastic new races are at war. Sort of. More like one fantastic new race is about to slaughter another. Championing truth, justice, and the American way (and toting along their beloved Coke machine) the crew of the USS Walker must find their own place in this new world. But their old world hasn’t quite released them, yet. Because through the same storm have come the Japanese enemy, as well.
Yeah, that’s enough of that.
If you like complex and very “real” characters, historical pieces, fantasy worlds, parallel universes, military action, and some good old-fashioned nation-building thrown in for good measure, you’re going to like Destroyermen.
I know that I did. Very much.