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Publisher's Summary

Pressed into service when World War II breaks out in the Pacific, the USS Walker---a Great-War vintage "four-stacker" destroyer---finds itself in full retreat from pursuit by Japanese battleships. Its captain, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Patrick Reddy, knows that he and his crew are in dire straits. In desperation, he heads Walker into a squall, hoping it will give them cover---and emerges somewhere else.

Familiar landmarks appear, but the water teems with monstrous, vicious fish. And there appear to be dinosaurs grazing on the plains of Bali. Gradually Matt and his crew must accept the fact that they are in an alternate world---and they are not alone. Humans have not evolved, but two other species have. And they are at war.

With its steam power and weaponry, the Walker's very existence could alter the balance of power. And for Matt and his crew, who have the means to turn a primitive war into a genocidal Armageddon, one thing becomes clear: They must decide whose side they're on. Because whoever they choose to side with is the winner.

Battle stations! Listen to more in the Destroyermen series.
©2008 Taylor Anderson (P)2008 Tantor

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  • Katherine
  • St. Johns, FL, United States
  • 06-13-12

3.5 stars: Entertaining naval historical fantasy

During the Second Battle of the Java Sea, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy and the crew of the destroyer USS Walker have been ordered to pull out of the Philippines. As they attempt to flee with several other Allied Navy ships, they???re attacked by the Japanese. The Allied ships are sunk, one by one, until only USS Walker and the crippled USS Mahan are left. When the huge Japanese battlecruiser Amagi shows up with its Kamikazes, Captain Reddy knows they???re lost ??? Walker, an old ship which was about to be decommissioned before WWII started, can???t stand up to the new Japanese ships. The only hope is to try to hide Walker and Mahan in a squall a few miles away.

When they enter the storm, they notice some strange phenomena with the rain and the sea, but things get really weird when they exit. There???s no radio traffic, Amagi and its planes are gone, and there???s a gigantic fish eating Japanese sailors (they manage to save one of them to hold as prisoner). When they meet a colossal wooden ship sailed by a species that looks like a cross between lemurs and cats, they realize that was no ordinary squall they passed through.

This is a parallel earth where evolution took different paths. While the climate, seas, land masses, and oil deposits are essentially the same, the animal species are different. There seem to be two sentient species. The Lemurians are passive and friendly but the Grik are definitely not. Courtney Bradford, the Australian oil company man whose hobby is naturalism, thinks they descended from the velociraptor. The Grik walk on two legs, have small arms, attack viciously, and devour their prey with their sharp teeth. After the Grik attack and kill some of the Walker men, Captain Reddy decides to help defend the Lemurian ship from a Grik attack. The humans don???t want to be involved in their war, but they need allies in this new world and the Grik are obviously the bad guys.

Into the Storm is the first book in a Taylor Anderson???s DESTROYERMEN series, which is currently seven books long (Iron Gray Sea, the seventh book, comes out next month). I was attracted to it because I love Patrick O???Brian???s AUBREY/ MATURIN series (I read all 20?? books) and DESTROYERMEN marries that same kind of naval historical fiction with fantasy ??? what could be better?

Well, Taylor Anderson???s utilitarian writing style isn???t quite as appealing as Patrick O???Brian???s, but he writes with plenty of emotion, just the right amount of humor, and lots of knowledge. Anderson is an academic historian, a forensic ballistic archaeologist, a movie consultant, and a sailor. I was impressed with the amount of research that was evident in Into the Storm. The battles and warships Taylor uses in his plot are real (until the weird storm, of course) and I felt confident that he had his facts straight about what Walker and the other ships were like.

By necessity, there???s a large cast of characters in Into the Storm. At first it???s hard to keep them all straight, but Anderson manages to give the important ones distinct personalities. They felt real to me and I liked the ones I was supposed to like. The action is non-stop and exciting: torpedoes explode, ships sink, people get eaten by dinosaurs. But there is also time for humor, character development and occasional reflection about war, nationalism, justice, and evolution.

The American patriotism may be too much for some readers (especially if they???re not American), and the hatred of the ???Japs??? is a constant theme, but it fits the context. Anderson makes the American sailors more palatable by giving them a different enemy in the parallel world. Instead of Japanese, they???re fighting a mindless horde of ugly ferocious reptiles. It???s an easy way out, but did we really want them fighting humans?

I had a lot of fun with Into the Storm, so I couldn???t resist picking up book 2, Crusade. The men of Walker are dejected ??? far from home and lonely. There are only two human women on this world, but there are indications that a group of humans were seen on the world generations ago. Might there be a human population somewhere? I have to find out what happens to these guys!

I???m listening to Tantor Audio???s version which is narrated by William Dufris. He overdoes a few of the accents, but mostly he gives a great performance. I???ll be reading the rest of the series on audio, too.

Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Greg
  • Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 12-17-10

Dinosaurs and Destroyermen

This book is just "Fun". They have combined two of my childhood loves which were dinosaurs and WWII weaponry and made it into a adventure romp with no equal in recent memory. The book reminds me a bit of the The "Final Countdown" but with non of the moral questions about should we interfere in another peoples history. They have a destroyer and they are going to blow up some "Grick" Spanish galleons. Fun characters but a bit stereotypical, from the Wise captain to the gentle giant deck ape Sylvan. The characters do develope more as they hit the later books. In closing I have to say fun read and couldnt reccomend it more.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 08-03-10

Not bad not great

I find little to recommend here except that it is action-packed. For me, there needs to be much more. It was not badly written nor was it great. At my age, I only have time for the great ones. I was not blown away by anything unique or compelling. I was not drawn to any of the characters particularly. The plot was predictable and not once was I surprised by the story or the characters. This is only the first book in a series and perhaps things get better but I will not get sucked into that trap again. I read through 4 of Robert Jordan's Wheel of TIme series before I realized things never got better than the first book.

If you're just looking to kill time, it's not a bad book but there are plenty of great ones I haven't gotten to yet.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Entertaining and Well Narrated

Didn't think I was going to like it as much as I
did. First, it was well written, fast paced,
with genuine characters, all of whom, even the
aliens, seemed realistically motivated. Second,
the narration, overall, was first rate. I have
picked several losers, lately, but this wasn't
one of them. I can only hope that the sequels
are as well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Noe
  • Edinburg, TX, United States
  • 12-10-09

Gem of a little story.

More fantasy than sci-fi, this well-written story hearkens back to the 1980 movie "The Final Countdown." In both tales, a U.S. naval vessel is suddenly transported back into time and/or a parallel dimension. I had a little trouble at first getting into this book but ended up finding it surprisingly engaging. It was reminiscent of Burroughs' John Carter series with a bit of J.R.R. Tolkien thrown in.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Just Plain Fun

This book was a very entertaining read, with excellent narration and good pacing. Im usually not a fan of alternate history but this series is a blast. If you like naval fiction, or military fiction in general you will have a lot of fun with the destroyermen series.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

GOT STUCK!!!

Very popular in modern Sci fi idea of shifting into parallel universe during WW2 just caught me off balance.
I read all 7 books in the series available at the moment and it still keeps my attention sharp and focused so I greedily expect book 8.

NEXT BOOK IS "Storm Surge" Expected publication: July 2nd 2013

13 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alvin
  • Perris, CA, United States
  • 02-11-10

Great Story!!!

I really enjoyed book one. I will be using my a my one credit on book two. If you are in to sci-fi and and parallel dimensions, this book is for you. I thank this series will become one of the best ever. Taylor Anderson is a good writer, and William Dufris is very good at telling the story.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Another Lost World?

I liked the characters, the flow of the story and constant action. It is obvious early on this is the first edition of a series.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Story, Fantastic Action

The author has done an amazing job of bringing the characters to life, and the battle scenes are riveting and exciting. This is a great book and I hope there are many more in the series.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful