Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Maelstrom-Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson
Roc, Feb 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 045146253X

Formerly Lieutenant Commander of the WWII battle destroyer USS Walker in this other earth he and his crew landed in; Matthew Reddy was promoted to Supreme Commander after the recent events against the more modern Japanese battle cruiser and the Grand Swarm of the reptilian Grik (see CRUSADE and INTO THE STORM). Still he knows the recent victories will not prevent the Grik abetted by the Japanese from swarming all over his crew and their allies the pacifist Lemurians.

To win the war and not just delay the inevitable, Reddy leads his sailors into the deadly deep seas; home to "mountain fish" who can eat the Walker in one bite. However, he also has found unlikely allies in Grik who oppose the war and other displaced humans who like the Walker sailors entered this other earth at some time or their offspring. Still he knows in the end he must lead his puny forces in battle against an invincible armada.

Once gain it is the incredible naval battle scenes that makes for a great military science fiction thriller (and saga). The story line is action-packed from the onset, but it is the war at sea especially that is fun to follow. Taylor Anderson uniquely combines the big picture battles with in depth look at how the crew and others psychologically cope with maiming and death of friends and bunkmates knowing they can be next. Especially interesting is Reddy who knows he is sending people to their death and realizes this will haunt him and his future decisions forever; this is mindful of Eisenhower with his D-Day decisions impacting his later presidency especially his belief to avoid land wars in Asia. MAELSTROM is an excellent military sci fi.

Harriet Klausner

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