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Maelstrom: Destroyermen, Book III by Taylor Anderson
Cover Artist: Studio Liddel
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Roc Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451462534
Date: 03 February 2009 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The fate of the world is in the hands of the survivors of the two U.S. Destroyers that passed through the storm and into an alternate earth. Once again the storm clouds are gathering. The Grik horde is preparing to move on the Lemurian fortified base at Baalkapan. Backed by the wounded Japanese cruiser Amagi, the Grik have amassed a huge army to invade and overwhelm the defenders. Baalkapan isn't defenseless. The USS Walker and USS Mahon await the Fil-pan islands to try to convince additional Lemurians to join the battle. Along the voyage the Mahon finds some unexpected allies. Another US Navy vessel had made it to this world. Although the submarine isn't functional many of its' weapons are useable.

Destroyermen Series:
Into the Storm
Crusade
Maelstrom

In addition to arms, there were crew members and two additional survivors who are more important than first imagined. The fate of the missing Indiamen is discovered and these potential new allies may change the course of the coming battle. The knowledge of these potential new allies allows Lieutenant Commander Reddy to ease his mind about his relationship with Sandra Tucker. There are potential companions for his crew. The battle, as is common, comes before either side is truly at its best. The Amagi outclasses the combined power of the two destroyers, but a well laid trap may be just what it takes to send the proud Japanese vessel to the bottom.

This is the concluding book to the trilogy, but it leaves many questions unanswered. The loose ends create an opening for a new series. That series would have great potential. The losses that both sides suffer and the changing view of tactics and the rush to create ever more destructive and effective weapons will lead to a much more wide open tale. The addition of the British survivors will give the industrial base that the Lemurians need to help balance the massive size of the Grik domains. I look forward to additional novels set in this parallel world.

Taylor Anderson understands the use of less sophisticated weaponry. He is an Historian, gun collector, field artillery specialist, and sailor. In the Destroyermen series he calls upon all of this knowledge to weave a solid story that brings to life the passion and horror of war. The tactics are sound and the reader isn't left waiting for the deus ex machine to come in and save the day. Victory is achieved through skill and planning. A little luck helps, but isn't always the key.

This is the third and concluding book of the Detroyermen trilogy. Readers should start with the first two volumes before reading this one. This series is similar to Time Spike by Eric Flint and Marilyn Kosmatka. The similarity lies only in the inclusion of dinosaurs and a travel to a world rather than a time where they exist.

I enjoyed this book. The pace was fast and kept me wanting to read just a couple more pages. Don't expect any major surprises. The author foreshadows the coming "twists" pretty clearly. I know that some readers have complained that Taylor's works are too transparent; I don't feel the overwhelming need to be tricked and misled through a book to appreciate how it turns out. The ensemble cast has a little something for everyone. From a heroic leader and a tortured enemy to power crazed enemies and wisecracking crew. If you like a fun tale set in a well developed world, pick up theDestroyermen series and kick back and enjoy.

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