Iron Gray Sea: Destroyermen
by Taylor Anderson
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Roc Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451464545
Date: 03 July 2012 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
If a two-fronted war is bad, three fronts are significantly worse, add internal discord and you have a recipe for disaster. The Grand Alliance of humans and Lemurians face trouble from all directions, Grik to the West, the Holy Dominion to the East, and a rogue Japanese destroyer to the North. To top that off assassination and machinations undercuts the authority of the leaders of the Alliance.
The invasion of Saa-lon and India proceed. But there are signs that the Grik are changing. The invasion is going well until the expeditionary force tries to break into the plains. Like many armies, the alliance forces are prepared to fight the last war. Suddenly there are more Grik, that fight harder, with better weapons. Surrounded and trapped with supplies running low, things seem desperate, but expect the unexpected. The arrival of a new force will change the world we thought we knew.
Kurokawa has plans of his own. He is helping the Grik develop more modern weapons while keeping some projects secret. The new ships, both air and sea, cause great problems for the Alliance. But just like Keje, Kurokawa underestimates his foes, preventing total victory. Although not the victory he wanted, he did get to the rank he wanted.
In the East, the war against the Holy Dominion continues. The recapture of the Emerald Islands is the first step. But the Holy Dominion air power is a problem that needs to be overcome. The complication comes in the form of a new attack on the leadership of New Britain. Confusion and power struggles put the alliance in jeopardy.
For those of you wondering what happened to Toryu Miyata and his mission to South Africa, you will find out, but only in the Epilogue. I had given up hope of learning more of the mission by the time Toryu's perspective arrived. I won't spill the secret of the new group, but I will say that book 8 should bring some huge new revelations to the crew of the Walker and her allies.
This is the seventh book in the Destroyermen series. With each novel, this new world comes into sharper focus. The thing to remember is that the world is huge, and that there is much more out there than you think. There is much more to explore and I expect numerous other people to meet. Each will play a role in the upcoming action. There a numerous maps throughout, which show the battles and locations. These help a great deal. I hope that the maps eventually make it to Taylor's website.
Not everyone that readers have come to know will survive. Others will suffer a great deal. But through their suffering they will get the chance to meet new people and perhaps, allies. There is a huge cast of characters, which is fortunately detailed in a cast of characters section.
As the seventh book in a series, it isn't the best entry point. The series itself though, including this novel, is worth reading. There seems to be a long way to go, so kick back and enjoy the ride. Readers who enjoy SM Stirling, Jules Verne, and Harry Turtledove will find this series enjoyable.