Book Review: Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson

March 7, 2018 Book Reviews 10

Book Review: Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson
Genres: Alternative History, Military Science Fiction
Published by Roc Pages: 442
on June 14, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Straits of Hell, Deadly Shores

Eleventh in the Destroyermen military science fiction series and revolving around a mixed bag of allies who have joined with USS Walker to battle this world’s enemies.

My Take

Anderson is still getting to the point…although to be fair, there is quite a bit of action, from cannibalistic natives, new versions of Griks and Lemurians, Griks rebelling against their status quo, Czech-Lemurians teaming up with Griks(!), kidnapping, aerial reconnaissance, and a reverse sort of, I’ll call it “prejudice” happening on both sides — Lemurians and Grik.

It’s an obvious good versus evil into which Anderson slips the conflicted theme of change versus tradition. I do love that Halik aims to instill pride, dignity, independent thought, and more into his Grik. That alliance he agrees to is certainly a radical step forward. Who knew we would be grateful to a Japanese general causing a Grik to realize what the Grik could become if they were allowed to advance?

I love that Halik comes to realize that your enemy cannot respect or honor you if all you see them is, is as food.

Using a third-person omniscient POV — the God’s eye view — allows Anderson to show us what every group of people from the Lemurians and Americans, their native allies, their enemies, no matter their mission or location, is thinking, feeling, or doing. In some ways, I don’t wanna know what some of them are doing… That Gravois is such SCUM!!!

As for the Japanese, omigod. The remaining Japanese crewmen now believe in Kurokawa!! They still know he’s mad, but who cares when he’s successful! Two radical growths in Allied characters are Miles and Silva. You’ll never believe it, but Miles does a 180…and Silva is starting to stop and think! That’s it. The world is ending.

Part of what I so enjoy about this series is the creativity, the make-do attitude, and that communication system the tribes Chack and Silva encounter is pretty amazing.

Now for my emotional take…jesus… It took me months to read this. Months because the tension was overwhelming, nerve wracking. Especially since, well, because this time, Walker may be on her last legs.

The Story

That last battle has left Walker in desperate need of repairs. Her engineers can’t promise she’ll hold, and First General Esshk of the Grik and that Japanese madman, Kurokawa, are preparing to strike. But this isn’t the only front on which the Alliance is fighting. The Holy Dominion in Mexico is a vicious, cruel culture that intends to take over the world.

The Alliance needs more allies, more help, and a unit is sent out into the wilds of Mada-gaas-gar to find the Lemurians’ fabled ancestors, and Fred and Kari sneak off to find the Americans of whom Captain Anson spoke while a task force is readied with supplies, planes, and men.

The Grik-Japanese alliance and the Doms aren’t the only enemies the Alliance, that Matt, faces. This enemy will raise the stakes to the most personal and terrifying levels Reddy has ever faced.

The Characters

Matthew Reddy had been the captain of the USS Walker, an Asiatic Fleet destroyer that was swept into this world. Now he’s the Supreme Allied Commander of all the various forces united to defeat the Grik and the Dominion.

The American-Lemurian Alliance

Baalkpan, Borneo, is…

…the capital of the Alliance. Adar is the High Sky Priest and High Chief of Baalkpan, and chairman of the Grand Alliance. He’s aboard the Amerika with Sandra. Commander Alan Letts (he’d been a very unfocused supply officer) is sitting in for Adar as chief of the Grand Alliance and has been busy composing the Articles of Union. Commodore Sor-Lomaak of Woor-Na will represent the seagoing Homes in the new United Homes, a.k.a., the Union. Henry Stokes is the new director of the Office of Strategic Intelligence; he’d arrived as a prisoner on the Mizuki Maru. Lord Ambassador Bolton Forester represents the New Britain Isles as an ally.

Lieutenant (jg) Abel Cook arrived with the S-19. Midshipman Stuart Brassey, an Impie, is a close friend. Major i’joorka, “King” Tony Scott’s War Captain, is in command of the combined Grik-like and human Khonashi troops. Tony had been the Walker’s old coxswain. Sergeant Moe, a Lemurian, is with the Khonashi. Poky is a small “real” Grik.

They’ve almost finished building the USS James Ellis (named for Matt’s friend who was killed at the second Battle of Madras); she’ll be commanded by Perry Brister. Lieutenant Rolando “Ronson” Rodriguez is Brister’s exec. Taarba-Kaar “Tabasco” is the chief cook and probably the best cook in the navy. Lieutenant (jg) Johnny Parks is an unimaginative engineer. Lieutenant (jg) Paul Stites had been tight with Silva and is now gunnery officer. Carl Bashear is Chief Bosun’s Mate.

The USS Geran-Eras was named for the High Chief of the Home-turned-carrier Humfra-Dar that was destroyed off Colombo and will be commanded by Cablaas-Rag-Laan. USS Baalkpan Bay is a fleet carrier, a CV-5. Commodore Kek-Taal, a Sularan, is its captain. General Faan-Ma-Mar, commander of III Corps, is always right where he’s supposed to be. USS Andamaan is Grik battleship-turned-giant seaplane tender. USS Sular, another former Grik ship, is a protected troopship. SPD Tarakaan Island and sail / steam frigates (DDs) of Des Ron-10, which include Bowles, Saak-Fas, and Clark, are also part of the fleet. Both the Ellis and Geran-Eras look just like Walker.

The Republic of Real People is…

…located in our South Africa with Alex-aandra their capital. Their ruler is Nig-Taak, their Caesar or kai-saar. Inquisitor Choon is the Republic’s chief snoop. The Gentaa are a hybrid of Lemurians and who many believe were castaway Chinese. They keep themselves to themselves and pretty much control the labor at the docks with very real political power.

Commander Greg Garrett commands USS Donaghey, a DD-2 with a square rig sail, and is on a long-range scout over to the Atlantic. He’d been Walker’s gunnery officer. Cap-i-taan Bekiaa-Sab-At, the ship’s Marine commander, is staying on in Alex-aandra as a military liaison and advisor. She’s been promoted to major while the Republic has given her the rank of tribune.

SMS Amerika is…
…the War Palace of the Republic officially captained by Kapitan Von Melhausen and informally captained by Kapitan Leutnant Becher Lange. Sandra Tucker Reddy had been a nurse, now she’s Reddy’s pregnant wife and the Minister of Medicine. Diania, an Impie, is Sandra’s aide and bodyguard. Gunnery Sergeant Arnold Horn, an intimate of Dennis Silva’s and a former prisoner aboard the Mizuki Maru, and Lieutenant Toryu Miyata, a Japanese defector on a visit to the Republic, are some of the wounded.

The Empire of the New Britain Isles’…

…citizens are referred to as Impies or Imperials. Rebecca Anne McDonald is their Governor-Empress…and she’s given women much more freedom. She’s shown up on the battlefront with High Chief Saan-Kakja, Rebecca’s Lemurian “sister” ruler of the Filpin Lands.

Los Diablos Del Norte are…

…Americans who were stranded in the 1840s and formed the New United States. Captain Anson was the spy who freed Fred and Kari. Based in the Caribbean, the NUS Congress is a heavy frigate commanded by Captain Ezra Willis. Lieutenant Samuel Hudgens is the executive officer. Other ships include the NUS Zachary Taylor affectionately known as Old Zack commanded by Commodore Michael Semmes and is his flagship. Lieutenant Ullysses “Ully” Locke had been a roommate of Hudgens’. The NUS Eric Holland (the Holly) is named for the commander of one of the original ships that strayed into this world; he was also the first director of their Navy.

War Fronts for the Allies

The Go Away Strait, Grik City, Mada-gaas-gar, is…

…where Matt and company finally took the Grik capital. Aboard the Walker are Commander Brad “Spanky” McFarlane; Lieutenant Tab-At “Tabby” is the engineering officer; Chief Engineer Isak is one of the Mice (and “missing in action” since he killed the Celestial Mother); Juan Marcos is the one-legged ship’s steward who makes such awful coffee who has appointed himself as the Chief Steward to the Supreme Commander; Surgeon Lieutenant Pam Cross has an understanding with Silva; and, Commander Bernard “Bernie” Sandison, who had been a torepedoman on Walker, is the unofficial minister of experimental ordnance.

The USS Tassat is commanded by Jarrik-Fas and can barely stay afloat. The USS Arracca, commanded by Tassanna-Ay-Arracca, is a Home-turned-carrier. The USS Salissa (another Home-turned-carrier) is commanded by Ahd-mi-raal Keje-Fris-Ar. Captain Jis-Tikkar “Tikker” is the Commander of Flight Operations (COFO); he’d been the very first Lemurian aviator.

Lieutenant Araa-Faan is another Lemurian pilot whose command of Grik City’s land-based air corps was superseded (she became Leedom’s XO) when Lieutenant Commander (of Flight Operations) Mark Leedom arrived. Lieutenant Paraal-Taas is Leedom’s co-pilot. Captain Enrico Galay is a photographer and had been a Philippine Scout in the old war. Leftenant Doocy Meek is the liaison from the Republic of Real People and has come as an observer on this mission.

General Queen Protector Safir Maraan commands the Allied Expeditionary Force (AEF-M). Risa, Chack’s sister, is second-in-command of the 221st Combined Regiment of the Allied Raider Brigade. Imperial Major Alistair Jindal is her executive officer. (Chack is its commander.)

Hij Geerki is a “tame” Grik captured at Raan-goon who believes he is “owned” by Rolak. Geerki is currently High Chief over the “civilian” Grik prisoners and incredibly useful as a spy, interpreter, and administrator with a great deal of energy. General Lord Muln Rolak is commander of I Corps and executive officer for General Alden’s Second Division. Major Simon “Simy” Gutfeld is commander of the 3rd Marines.

The USS Santa Catalina (“Santy Cat”) is commanded by Captain Russ Chappelle, a former torpedoman aboard Mahan. “Mikey” Monk is her exec. Stanley “Dobbin” Dobson is the chief bosun. Kathy McCoy is the surgeon commander of all of First Fleet. Lieutenant Dean Laney, the engineering officer, may have been a troublemaker and one of Silva’s friends, but his technical knowledge is second only to Spanky’s and has made tremendous technical contributions.

The Maroons are probably the great-great-grandchildren of a British East Indiaman who reverted to primitivism.

A Mission to Find Friendly Lemurians in Mada-gaas-gar

Lieutenant Colonel Chack-Sab-At “Chack” is in command of the military side of the mission; Courtney Bradford; that maniac also known as Chief Gunner’s Mate Dennis Silva; Ensign Nathaniel “Nat” Hardee captains the “Seven boat” in which they travel; Lawrence “Larry” is Silva’s best friend, a Grik-like Sa’aaran; and, Lance Corporal Ian Miles is greatly disliked by everyone.

The Erokighaani, a Lemurian tribe the Chack-Silva team encounter, have a hideous reputation. Heegar-Ep-Erok is the High Shaman. The Shee-ree are another Lemurian tribe. Kaam is captain of the guard of the Naa-kaani Clan. Ror’at-Raal is their fearful High Chief. Niri-Aani will learn zeppelin controls. Another tribe includes the Khot-So.

Ma-draas, India, is…

…where a fleet is assembling to sail to Grik City. General of the Armies and Marines Pete Alden had been a sergeant. Chief of the Army and Naval Air Corps Ben Mallory has been an army pilot. Staff Sergeant Cecil Dixon is head of maintenance for the 3rd Pursuit Squadron. Lieutenant (jg) Suaak-Pas-Ra “Soupy” (callsign “Flashy Two”), the Dutch Lieutenant Conrad Diebel “Flashy Five”, and Second Lieutenant Niaa-Saa “Shirley” are old air force hands. Walt “Jumbo” Fisher commands the Patrol Squadron (Pat-Squad) Twenty-two. Mallory’s pilots are called “Flashies”. Sergeant Aanse-Ar-Mus “Moose” is Jumbo’s flight engineer. Reese is a young Impie midshipman.

The impatient Colonel Dalibor Svec is a Czech in command of three regiments of the Czech Legion, a.k.a., Brotherhood of Volunteers, a mixed force of humans and Lemurians. Colonel Enaak, riding Aasi, commands a brigade of cavalry, the 5th Maa-ni-la.

III and VI Corps are…
…commanded by General Linnaa-Fas-Ra (a “political” general) who is supposed to rush forward and build forts and secure river crossings.

The Battle in Central America

Lord High Admiral Harvey Jenks, an Impie, is in command of the naval fleet which just won a naval victory over the Dominion. General Tomatsu Shinya (Japanese) smashed a Dom army.

Isak’s half-brother, Gilbert (the other original Mouse) is acting engineering officer in the carrier Maaka-Kakja. Orrin Reddy is Matt’s cousin and had been a prisoner aboard the Mizuki Maru.

Lieutenant (jg) Fred Reynolds and Ensign Kari-Faask, Fred’s very best friend, “escaped” with a PB-1B “Nancy” floatplane to find the Americans about whom Captain Anson (a spy in the Dominion who helped them escape) told them.

The Second of the 2nd Marines is…
…a Lemurian-Amer-i-caan troop commanded by the angry Captain Blas-Ma-Ar “Blossom”. A squad of former Imperial lancers are led by First Sergeant Spon-Ar-Aak “Spook”. Colonel James Blair is Blas’ superior. They encounter rebels who include Ximen and Ixtli; they’ll become leaders of the auxiliary regiments. Ixtli’s friends are called Jagaar-istas who believe the Lemurians are godlike.

”A” Company of the 2nd includes…
…the Vengadores, former soldiers of the Holy Dominion captured after their defeat on New Ireland, under Colonel Arano Garcia and is a detachment of the Army of the Sisters. Teniente Pacal is one of them.

The Army of the Sisters is…
…led by Sister Audry, a Benedictine nun who arrived on S-19, who is converting Dominion soldiers to the true Christianity.

The Enemies

The Gharrichk’k Empire is…

…full of Grik, lizard-like sentient beings with a nasty culture that worships the Celestial Mother, a figurehead leader. The Shee-ree refer to them as Gaa-rieks. They are divided into Hij who are smarter than the Uul who are laborers. Choosers are of the Hij class and keep the ancient wisdoms, rites of successions, and determine which hatchlings are elevated to the Hij.

Sofesshk is…
…the birthplace of the Celestial Bloodline on the African continent, a city looked upon with reverence by the Grik. First General Esshk, Regent Champion, Guardian of the Celestial Bloodline, is their current leader in league with the Chooser, now the Lord Chooser of All the Gharrichk’k, and they are based in the Palace of Vanished Gods. Esshk and the Chooser have their own plans for the Celestial Mother. Pouncer is a Grik ship.

General Halik was…
…a lowly sport fighter who has been “elevated” to general. His army was defeated in Mada-gaas-gar and is leaving India. General Orochi Niwa, a Japanese from the Japanese Imperial Navy battle cruiser Amagi, has become Halik’s friend. General Ugla is one of Halik’s most promising generals. General Shlook is onboard with Halik’s improvements.

Lord Regent Consort Shighat,
Sire of all Persia, and Generals D’ga and Suluk and Shighat’s Chooser are all traditionalists. General Yikkit was sent as a liaison from Esshk. Captain Sigg commands Yikkit’s escort.

The Holy Dominion is…

…ruled by a bloodthirsty religion with New Granada as their capital. Don Hernan de Devina Dicha is a Blood Cardinal and commands the Army of God. General Nerino pays the ultimate price at Chimborazo. Don Emmanuel del Rio Negro is the Envoy of His Supreme Holiness, the Messiah of Mexico, and Emperor of the World by the Grace of God. He has served as the intermediary between the Americans and the Holy Dominion.

Zanzibar is the Secret Stronghold of…

…the Japanese enemy led by General of the Sea Hisashi Kurokawa. General of the Sky Hideki Muriname is second-in-command. Iguri is Muriname’s executive officer and becomes Captain of the Sky. They have developed “pocket battleships” and better weapons and planes. Some of his ships include Kaga, Soryu, Nachi (her captain is Hara Mikawa) and Akagi. Lieutenant Takeo led the first waves of fighter planes against the Alliance.

After betraying the Grik, he is now hosting League Capitaine de Fregate Victor Gravois who is leading the League delegation. He’s a sly, conniving tricky bastard. Aspirant Gilles Babin is his aide. Oberleutnant Walbert Fiedler is a German pilot who is dropping hints to the Japanese. Maggiore Antonio Rizzo is of the Aeronautica Italiana.

The League of Tripoli is…

…a bigoted alliance of European countries which control the Mediterranean, a chunk of North Africa, and have a toehold in Italy, France, and Spain. General Faure is the Frenchman who is “currently first among equals”. The Germans don’t rate full representation”. Contre Amiral Rauol Laborde is captain of the Savoie, the League battleship that had blocked Alex-aandra (Cape Town) harbor in the Republic (South Africa). Capitaine Dupont recommends an atrocity.

Christmas Island is…
…a secret spy harbor for the League. The Leopardo is an Italian destroyer.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a battle at sea with one battleship firing on another as a plane strikes out of the sky. It’s a gloomy series of grays, blues, and flames with a bloody red for the title at the top, the series information in white just above it. An info blurb and the author’s name are in white at the bottom.

The title is a foreshadowing of Blood in the Water.


10 Responses to “Book Review: Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson”

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)