Book Review: Deadly Shores by Taylor Anderson

Posted October 16, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Deadly Shores 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.

Deadly Shores by Taylor Anderson
Genres: Action, Adventure, Military Science Fiction
Published by Roc on May 6, 2014
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Straits of Hell, Blood in the Water, Devil's Due, River of Bones, Pass of Fire

Ninth in the Destroyermen military science fiction (alternate history on an alien Earth) series and revolving around the captain of the USS Walker and the friends with whom they’ve allied.

My Take

Whew. Another pip from Anderson. Only third-person omniscient point-of-view can work in this, if we’re to know the thoughts and actions of those on the different fronts. Lord knows, there are enough of ‘em!

The main battlefronts are Matt and company attacking the Griks at their home base; Imperials, ‘Cats, and Americans against the Dominion in Central America; and, Alden’s truce with Halik. Other smaller actions include the USS Donaghey’s independent explorations, catching up on events at home in Baalkpan, and Rebecca’s terrifying decision.

Anderson’s characters will grab hold of you and become family. Worse, Anderson makes it necessary to find out what’s happening, as he slips from one front to the next. I was desperately reading to find out what’s happening with this group, even as I wanted to finish with that group. It’s enough to keep you flippin’ pages and totally enthralled. It’s one of those stories for which you simply have to set aside a chunk of hours (and plan on having a pizza delivered, so you don’t have to stop and cook!).

That Bradford. He’s something else, and so is the theory he’s arrived at as to why so many people from other timelines ended up here. As for Sandra. Oh, baby, you go!! I love that women are considered equal to men by the ‘Cats, and they’ve inspired some big changes on this world amongst non-Lemurians.

It’s mostly a sortie of a story, even though major events take place. Deadly Shores feels more like a set-up for the real action to come with the truth behind it all that no one can share a command. That there must be one person with the ability to make the decisions within his or her sphere of skills. It’s a hard lesson, but those are usually the kind that stick.

The Story

It’s a chance to take back their sacred homeland, stolen so long ago, and Adar has been carefully dancing around the true purpose of the raid. It’s only Matt Reddy, commander of the old destroyer USS Walker, who is focused on a “simple” strike.

Worse, still others have their own agendas for how these battles should resolve while there’s an undersea stalker following First Fleet South’s every move.

As the raid begins and chaos reigns, Reddy has no choice but to go all-in, risking everything in a desperate act that results in a sprawling, nightmarish battle on the beaches of Grik City, on the very decks of Walker, and in the labyrinthine passageways of the Celestial Palace itself.

The final cost could be more than Matt Reddy — or the Alliance — can bear.

The Characters

The Grand Alliance is…

…forming up as a United States of the allies. Adar is its Chairman, High Sky Priest for Salissa and Baalkpan, and High Chief of Baalkpan. Commander Alan Letts is helping Adar set up the new constitution in Baalkpan Bay and is in charge when Adar is away. Matt is commander of all Allied Forces.

The Western Front…
…is the battle against the Grik with Lieutenant Commander Matthew “Matt” Reddy, the captain of a four-stacker destroyer, the USS Walker, and commander-in-chief of all Allied forces beneath or beside the Banner of the Trees, sort of in charge. Surgeon Commander Sandra Tucker Reddy is Matt’s wife. Petey, a small tree-gliding reptile, was Rebecca’s pet and has now attached himself to Sandra. Diania is one of the freed Imperials and was Sandra’s steward. Brad “Spanky” McFarlane is now Matt’s exec and the Minister of Naval Engineering; he’s a mechanical genius. Bernie Sandison is Walker’s torpedo officer and Minister for Experimental Ordnance; he’s still struggling to make those torpedoes reliable. Lieutenant Pam Cross was Walker’s surgeon. Chief Gunner’s Mate Dennis Silva is a loose cannon but means well. He and Pam have a quiet “thing”, and he and Chack are best friends. Lawrence, a.k.a., Larry the Lizard, is a different type of Grik — a Sa’aaran — and another of Silva’s best friends. Chief Bosun Fitzhugh “Boats” Gray, a.k.a., Super Bosun, is also commander of the Captain’s Guard. Lieutenant Commander Irvin Laumer had been the skipper of the sunken S-19; he’ll take over command of the PTs. Earl Lanier is still around and still the cook aboard Walker. Yep, he’s still hangin’ on to that Coke machine.

Gunnery Sergeant Arnold Horn used to know Silva in the old world; he was another of the prisoners aboard the Hidoaime. Now he’s assigned to Sonny Campeti, the gunnery master. Chief Quartermaster “Paddy” Rosen; Lieutenant Ed Palmer; and, the one-legged Juan Marcos, chief steward, maker of the bad coffee, are still with Walker. Min-Sakir, a.k.a., Minnie, is the ‘Cat talker. Lieutenant Tab-At, a.k.a., Tabby (she’s sweet on Spanky), is in charge of engineering aboard Walker with the help of Chief Isak Reuben, one of the original fireroom Mice. Sitia, an ex-pat Impie gal, is a machinist’s mate 3rd. Wallace Fairchild is still the chief sonarman. Pak-Ras-Ar, a.k.a., Pack Rat, is a gunner’s mate. Jeek is chief of the Special Air Division. Johnny Parks is a chief machinist’s mate. Ensign Hardee gets left behind to man the PT boat in case the invasion team needs a fast escape. Not Hewy and Not Dewy go along with the team.

General Queen Protector Safir Maraan of B’mbaado commands what’s left of II Corps. She and Chack are together. Well, in the metaphysical sense. General Grisa, in command of 6th Division, is part of her group. Major Saachic will be in charge of the cavalry. General Mersaak commands 3rd Division.

Lieutenant Colonel Chack, a.k.a., Chack-Sab-At, begins the story on the island of Diego Garcia. Major Alistair Jindal of the Imperial Marines commands the 21st AEF Regiment; and, Captain Risa-Sab-At (she’s Chack’s sister) are there.

Courtney Bradford is an Australian petroleum engineer, a naturalist, and here in this world, the Allied Minister of Science. Highly useful for the Allies, even if he does tend to wander off both physically and mentally. Lieutenant Galay was a former corporal in the Philippine Scouts.

Will, Andy, and Sam are likely the descendants of the survivors of the lost East Indiaman that got separated from those who founded the New Britain Isles. Other former prisoners of the Hidoaime include Commander Simon Herring, the director of strategic intelligence who constantly casts doubt and aspersions on Matt; Lance Corporal Miles, a China Marine in the old world, is still “great” friends with Herring; and, Conrad Diebel who’s flying P-40s for Ben Mallory.

Captain Jarrik-Fas is on the USS Tassat with a mountain fish warning. Nor is he the only ship to encounter new and deadly fauna on their missions. Tassanna-Ay-Arracca is USNRS Arracca‘s High Chief and will take her battle group to blockade ports in India. USNRS Salissa, a.k.a., Big Sal, had been a Home but was reconfigured into an aircraft carrier. Admiral Keje-Fris-Ar is Salissa‘s High Chief and very good at organizing the auxiliaries, and he’s none too happy with Adar. Selass-Fris-Ar is Keje’s daughter and chief surgeon of Second Fleet. Atlaan-Fas is Salissa‘s CO; Lieutenant Sandy Newman is her exec. Commander Jis-Tikkar, a.k.a., Tikker, is COFO of Big Sal‘s 1st Naval Wing. The Mahan and Santa Catalina are being repaired. Commodore James Ellis, Walker’s old exec and Matt’s best friend, died in Storm Surge, 8. The commander of the USS Respite Island. Lieutenant Winston “Winny” Rominger, another former prisoner, is in command of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron #1. The S-19 was sunk with half her crew.

Bekiaa-Sab-At is a captain of Marines and aboard the USS Donaghey where she battles her PTSD from the Rocky Gap battle where Flynn’s Rangers fell (Iron Gray Sea, 7); she’s also Chack’s cousin. Captain Greg Garrett commands the Donaghey. Inquisitor Kon-Choon is the representative from the African Republic of Real People and is the Royal “Inquisitor” for his “Kaiser”, Nig-Taak. A spymaster. Lieutenant Wendel “Smitty” Smith is the gunnery officer. Lieutenant Saama-Kera, a.k.a., Sammy, is Greg’s exec. The Republic is hopeful that the Allies mean that they are not alone against the Grik. Chief Laan. Lieutenant Ra-Saan is Bekkia’s second-in-command. Ensign Kaar-Raan is one of Donaghey‘s pilots. The USS Sineaa is accompanying the Donaghey. For a while anyway.

The island of Diego Garcia will…
…become a staging depot and is the land of a Lemurian tribe, the Laa-Laanti. The inhabitants include Pukaa (his father’s heir) and Sikaa, sons of the High Chief, Gin-Taaor, who is himself in a bit of a panic when he sees just how many allies are stepping on shore. The SMS Amerika, a.k.a., the War Palace, is an African Republic of Real People ship, a converted ocean liner. Kapitan Adler Von Melhausen commands the Amerika, Kapitan Leutenant Becker Lange is Von Helmhausen’s exec. Leutenant Doocy Meek commands her Marines. Lieutenant Toryu Miyata was the Amagi‘s navigation officer sent off to Africa. And he asked for asylum.

Madras, the Western Front in East Indiaa
General Pete Alden is in charge of the Allied armies and Marines. Colonel Enaak laughs at the meanie “playing”. General Lord Muln Rolak of Aryaal has grown close to Safir since the start of the war. A father-daughter closeness. Hij Geerki, an ancient Grik bookkeeper, is a prisoner-of-war who has become attached to Rolak as an interpreter. “Colonel” Dalibor Svec leads the Brotherhood of Volunteers, a troop of aging Czech legions, Slovaks, and a “previously unknown continental tribe of Lemurians”. Colonel Ben Mallory commands the 3rd Pursuit Squadron. Lieutenant Commander Mark Leedom is still alive and now commands Alden’s combined Army and Navy air. General Taa-leen.

The Allied Expeditionary Force on the Eastern Front…
…goes up against the “rabidly fanatical human ‘Holy Dominion’ in the Americas” where Lord High Admiral Harvey Jenks, an Imperial, is commander-in-chief of all Allied forces in the East with 18,000 men and ‘Cats against 40,000+. The Allies are based on the Enchanted Isles (we know ’em as the Galápagos) and specifically in the city of Guayak. General Tomatsu Shinya is a “former Japanese naval officer” who is on their side and is in charge of the infantry. Admiral Lelaa-Tal-Cleraan, Lemurian, commands a carrier; Tex Sheider is her exec while Chief Gilbert, one of the original Mice, is in charge of engineering. Lieutenant Orrin Reddy is Matt’s cousin and very like him in ambitions and temperament. He’s now commander of flight operations (COFO) for USS Maaka-Kakja, the first purpose-built carrier. He’d also been one of the prisoners-of-war freed from the Hidoiame. Sergeant Kuaar-Ran-Taak, a.k.a., Seepy, is Orrin’s Lemurian Observer/Copilot. Lieutenant Ninaar-Rin-Ar is CO of the 11th Bomb Squadron. Imperial Marine Colonel Blair is one of the good ones. Marine Captain Blas-Ma-Ar commands the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, with Lieutenant Faal-Pel, a.k.a., Stumpy, her second and who is also an old Walker shipmate First Sergeant Spon-Ar-Aak, a.k.a., Spook, is with A Company, 2nd of the 2nd Marines; he’s under Blas-Ma-Ar. Corporal Smuke, an Impie, comes to their relief. Lieutenant Stas-Fin, a.k.a., Finny, commands Company C, 2nd Battalion, 8th Manila. Fred Reynolds and Kari-Faask are recovering from their imprisonment with the Dominion. Captain Anson was the American spy who helped Fred and Kari-Faask to escape.

The locals in Guayak
Señor Suares, the vice alcalde and a former trader to the “Honorable” New Britain Company is the liaison for the alcalde, Don Ricardo Del Guayak.

The Imperials of New Britain
Rebecca Anne McDonald gets a mention in here. She’s the Governor-Empress of the Empire of the New Britain Isles (we know it as Hawaii). She’s passed her Decree of Manumission giving women equal rights, and ain’t that just so popular, not. His Excellency Sean Bates, a.k.a., Casey, is now Prime Factor to the empress. Sister Audry is a Dutch Benedictine nun who had been a passenger aboard S-19 when it entered this world. She’s intent on redeeming and teaching the Dominion prisoners the truth about Catholicism. She will lead the platoon of Dominion converts. Sergeant Koratin, formerly a lord of Aryaal, is one of Sister Audry’s converts. Teniente Arano Garcia of the Dominion Salvadores heads up the group of prisoners who appear to have “received the light”. Rebecca’s “sister”, Saan-Kakha, High Chief of all the Fil-pin Lands, is coming on a state visit, and together they have their own plans.

Meanwhile, back in Baalkpan…
…the capital of the Grand Alliance, Commander Alan Letts is the acting High Chief of Baalkpan and temporary chairman of the Grand Alliance; Karen Theimer Letts, the Deputy Minister of Medicine, is his wife. Their young daughter is Allison Verdia. Lord Bolton Forester is the ambassador from the Empire of New Britain Isles; Lieutenant Bachman is his aide. Commander Saraan-Ghaani is the ambassador for the Great South Isle (we know it as Australia). Commander Steve Riggs is the Allied Minister of Communications and Electrical Contrivances (hmmm, I do like that last word…) Leading Seaman Henry Stokes, another of the former prisoners from the Hidoaime, is now running Allied Intel as its assistant director. The Busted Screw is Earl Lanier’s place, and Pepper, one of the ‘Cats, runs it when Earl’s away on Walker.

The Enemies

The Grik are…
Ghaarrichk’k, lizard people with one focus — not being prey and are divided into two classes: Uul who are the warrior/worker class and the Hij who are members of the ruling class. For sustenance, they eat anything that moves. Madras Halik is the Grik general raised up from the Uul class, unprecedented. General Shlook is one of Halik’s men. General Ugla is another solider under Halik. “General” Niwa was under Kurokawa and released to work with Halik, and they became friends. He’s currently a prisoner-of-war of the Allies.

Madagascar is…
…the Lemurians’ ancient, sacred homeland from which the Grik ousted them. The Celestial Mother, the Giver of Life, is the Grik’s god. And she’s so obese, she can’t move. First General Esshk is the Celestial Mother’s littermate and in command of all Grik armies. The Chooser is the Grik in charge of deciding which of the hatchlings would become aggressive warriors, leaving the rest to be culled for food. Yeah, not a nice bunch.

The Japanese are…
…commanded by General of the Sea Hisashi Kurokawa, and the lord regent of India, who has escaped from the end of the battle in Madras and abandoned Halik for his stronghold in Zanzibar. He still has Signals Lieutenant Fukui with him. Lieutenant Iguri is General of the Sky Muriname’s second-in-command. General Agta is a commander of ten hundreds. Commander Riku.

The Holy Dominion is…
…based in South America and has perverted the Catholic dogma into a nightmare mishmash of torture and sadistic treatment of its people. Their soldiers are massing at El Paso del Fuego. General Ghanan Nerino is so looking forward to this battle. He’s only had practice ones so far. He’s quite apologetic about having to destroy the Allies for the sacrilege they have committed. And so looking forward to impaling the enemy. Don Hernan DeDevino Dicha is Blood Cardinal to His Supreme Holiness, the Messiah of Mexico, and by the Grace of God, Emperor of the World. Arrogant much? He’s not giving Nerino much to be happy about. Don Hernan, however, is very happy about his Army of God. The Allies are not happy about discovering the Grikbirds, dragon-like Grik, that attack their planes.

The Surcouf is…
…an enemy submarine. French.

The Banner of the Trees is the great Union Adar is planning for and Letts is working on. In a more tangible sense, it’s the flag under which the Allies are gathering. The Lemurians, a.k.a., ‘Cats or Mi-Anakka, are one of the dominant races on this world and look like cats while reacting like humans. They are also the primary allies of the Americans. PIG-cigs are Pepper, Isak, and Gilbert’s attempt to make Lemurian tobacco smokable. Gri-kakka are a type of plesiosaur and about the size of a whale. A strakka is a particularly vicious typhoon-like storm. Me-naaks, a.k.a., meanies, are cavalry mounts that look like gigantic crocodiles. Paalkas are moose-like creatures used like oxen. Galla trees are sacred to the ‘Cats and HUGE. Snipes is slang for the engineering divisions, and apes is the term used to refer to the deck divisions. There was a shipboard rivalry that melted away with all the battles everyone was concentrating on, but it seems to be back. Grik rout is when the unenhanced Griks, the Uul, become too frightened to fight.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a range of browns with a bit of black…and touches of oranges and yellow in the sky and the white of crashing waves to “lighten things up”. It’s the USS Walker riding a surging sea as the Allies invade Grik City with small boats away to shore, airships and sailing ships in the background. A spit of land protrudes, representing the terrifying beasts that inhabit the forest Chack must cross. The series information is centered at the very top in an all-cap white with the title immediately underneath it in a stark silver. The author’s name is at the very bottom in a shadowed white.

The title is waaay too true, for most any land the Allies come near turns out to be Deadly Shores.

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