Storm Surge (2013), the eighth book in Taylor Anderson’s DESTROYERMEN series, is exactly what I was expecting, which means that while I enjoyed checking in on Captain Reddy and his crew and alliances in the alternate earth they found themselves in during WWII, I continued to wonder how long Anderson can draw out this war. Sure, world wars take years, so it’s not that I find the plot unrealistic (excepting the part about the parallel universe), but it’s just that I don’t really want to read about the same war for 154 hours (which is how long the series, so far, takes when reading it in audio format).
Well, it’s not all war, of course. Storm Surge starts at a baseball game in Manila — the Americans have taught their national sport to the Lemurians, the cat-like creatures they’ve allied with against the dinosaur-like Grik in this world were evolution produced those races instead of humans. Captain Reddy is healing from the wounds he took in the battle that ended the previous book, Iron Gray Sea. His forces are spread over half this world as they work on various projects, negotiate with allies, escape capture, discover secrets, develop new weapons, etc. As soon as Reddy is ready (sorry), they’ll strike a massive campaign that they hope will end the Grik empire and its alliance with a bad “Jap” who has also crossed over into this alternate Earth. Reddy has an ethical dilemma approaching: if they can develop a nerve gas, should they use it? Reddy hates the idea, but realizes it may save more lives in the long run.
I love Anderson’s characters; the Destroyermen and their new friends are wonderfully portrayed and it’s fun to see their little quirks, listen to their bantering with each other, and watch them develop as they find themselves in leadership positions in this new world. Some of them die, including in this book, and it’s sad to see them go. For many fans of the series, just this interaction with these terrific people will be enough to make them love Storm Surge.
However, I found myself getting impatient with the pace of the story and the numerous battle scenes. Each battle is excellently described and they’re all different and exciting, but it’s just that I’m tired of the war. The characters say they’re tired of it, too, so I’m sure they wouldn’t blame me for feeling this way. Like them, I’m ready for the war to be over and to move on to another phase of life such as Courtney Bradford’s explorations of the Galapagos Islands, something he’s anxious to do but that hasn’t panned out because they’re always preparing for war, at war, or recovering from war. At the end of Storm Surge, there are devastating loses and encouraging triumphs. But it doesn’t look like the war is going to be over any time soon….
I continue to listen to Tantor Audio’s version of the DESTROYERMEN series read by William Dufris. A few of his voices for the Lemurians are annoying, but overall his narration continues to be excellent. Storm Surge is 18 hours long.