fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsDistant Thunders by Taylor AndersonDistant Thunders by Taylor Anderson

The 100 remaining American destroyermen have now been in their strange new world for 16 months. They’ve just had a major victory against the evil Grik, but they know their respite will be short, for the Grik seem to have an unending supply of soldiers.

There’s a lot to get done before they face their enemies again, so the destroyermen are spread out thin. They’re building ships, planes, weapons (but not gas weapons), and a dry dock. They’re refining fuel and recycling metal scrap. They’re training their Lemurian allies to do all these jobs and to be sailors, pilots, and infantry men. The Americans have started an industrial revolution — the old ways of specialized craft guilds and apprenticeships are giving way to cold precise machinery. Captain Matthew Reddy feels guilty about the cultural changes they’ve caused, but he knows it’s the only way to win the war against the evil Grik.

He also hopes to gain some new allies when he returns Princess Rebecca to her people, but first he needs to convince them that the Grik are their enemies, too. Yet he’s not sure how Rebecca and the Americans will be received because there’s some sort of political intrigue, and maybe some treachery, going on.

Destroyermen (Book Series) by Taylor AndersonIf you’ve enjoyed Taylor Anderson’s DESTROYERMEN series so far, you’ll most likely be pleased with Distant Thunders (2010). There’s still a lot of repetition of facts and jokes (i.e., Juan’s coffee, Vienna sausages, the Coke machine, Bradford’s reckless enthusiasm) with few fresh ones to replace them, but perhaps these serve to remind us of more carefree times. The villains continue to be over-the-top and it’s hard to take them seriously when they patiently wait their turn to recite their evil monologues, but the story progresses sufficiently and there are some humorous and some dreadful scenes, and one or two which are both humorous and dreadful at the same time — something Taylor Anderson does really well. There are also some thoughtful discussions, such as Courtney Bradford’s explanation of how the theory of evolution is not, contrary to popular opinion, antithetical to a creator God. He also has some ideas about how the strange storm that brought the destroyermen to their new world may have worked. I look forward to learning more about this in a future installment.

Taylor Anderson leaves us with a couple of cliffhangers and gives us plenty of reason to read the next volume, Rising Tides. I’m enjoying the audio versions narrated by William Dufris, so I’ll be looking for Rising Tides on sale at Audible or I don’t feel like I have to read it immediately, but this series is interesting enough to be on my TBR list.

Published in 2010. View our feature on Taylor Anderson’s Distant Thunders.The fourth thrilling adventure in the Destroyermen series. After the battle in which the men of the destroyer Walker and their Lemurian allies repelled the savage Grik, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy is shocked by the arrival of a strange ship captained by one Commodore Jenks of the New Britain Imperial Navy-an island-nation populated by the descendants of British East Indiamen swept through the rift centuries before. With the Walker undergoing repairs, Reddy already has a great deal on his hands. For the Grik will return, and Reddy will need all hands on deck to fight them off when they next attack. But Jenks’ uncertain loyalties make Reddy question whether he can trust the man. As tension between the Allies and the Imperials mount, Reddy will come to realize that his suspicions are not misplaced-and that a greater danger than the Grik is closer than he ever suspected…


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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