Book Review: Devil’s Due by Taylor Anderson

Posted August 1, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 5 Comments

Book Review: Devil’s Due 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.

Devil's Due by Taylor Anderson
Genres: Alternative History, Military Science Fiction
Published by Ace on June 13, 2017
Pages: 494
Format: eBook
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Straits of Hell, Deadly Shores, Blood in the Water, River of Bones, Pass of Fire

Twelfth in the Destroyermen military science fiction series that takes place in an alternate plane and revolving around an American destroyer that passed through a time warp during World War II.

My Take

Ya gotta love Sandra for her bravery and outspokenness when she confronts Kurokawa. Scary, but brave. She’s the epitome of what the story, the series, is about — good versus evil. Now, Dennis Silva, could be considered the epitome of how Anderson livens up the contrast between the virtue and the vice with his antics. Always a mischiefmaker, but one who has grown through his interactions with others such as Chief Gray and with Reddy’s confidence that he’ll do what needs to be done. However irregular it may be, lol.

In Devil’s Due, there’s quite a bit of introspection as a number of characters come to realize how they’ve changed. All that technology that has changed the Lemurian Homes and land bases. The soldiers who have died and those on active duty, all those children needing their parents and the lengths to which the Lemurians and Americans will go to keep the children safe. The pragmatic changes that have come over Courtney Bradford. Bekiaa is challenged by an army that doesn’t understand how real war is. Lawrence has his own thoughtful moment as he recognizes his heart and his sentimentality, all foreign concepts to him, once.

You’d like to think Kurokawa would change, but the idiot is too far gone, but he does at least acknowledge true courage when he sees it. So much has changed for the Grik as well. Their leaders have discovered their rank-and-file are much more intelligent than they thought.

I love how innovative the Allies are, how quickly they progress, how creative the Lemurians are. Of course what adds to my respect is that they’re the good guys. That they’re already planning for a good future for everyone. If only the rest of any world would be this thoughtful…and as caring as the Gentaa is with their elderly.

Lange, a.k.a., ahem, Chartier, Horn, Brassey, and Pokey’s antics onboard the Savoie are scary and tricksy, oh, so very tricksy! It’s a nice bit of revenge, and the result is too fantastic. Especially with the help of their Grik prisoner, lol.

And the crew of the Walker are snarkin’ away at Earl, as we discover the sabotage the entire Alliance is in on. And…shock…Earl gives up on that Coke machine!

Thankfully, there were more survivors of the Amerika. Even better, they found good coffee! Doesn’t make up for what the Donaghey‘s crew thinks of the food stores on the Matarife. And I’m pretty curious as to why they think it’s so bad??

As for the enemies, where these League officers get off with their “outrage” is beyond me. Nor am I sure how Muriname’s designs on Sandra and Diania wouldn’t be physically painful, and it’s rather scary to consider.

Battles are always terrifying. Not knowing who will win, who will die. And Sandra and her fellow prisoners have more to worry about in the hands of the Japanese. Not least of which is the “dame famine” all the human males have been suffering through, especially the Japanese who are threatening the pregnant Sandra and Diania. And Adar is starving himself to death.

The characters have some interesting views about who’s bad, worse, and yet worse. Garrett’s sees the League as the worst, and I have to agree. Especially after his experiences with them.

It certainly has taken long enough — and thank goodness for that third person global subjective point-of-view — for the Japanese to begin to see the truth about Kurokawa!

The Story

Still reeling from the Battle of Mahe, the Alliance dives into repairs. Fast. For that mad Kurokawa is holding Sandra, Adar, and others prisoner and has the League battleship Savoie against which the Walker hasn’t a chance.

The League’s trickery has been exposed but the threat still looms. Especially when the Allies discover they’re allying with the Holy Dominion. And General Esshk is gathering the Final Swarm to take the Alliance down.

There’s danger everywhere, and Matt wants, needs, to rescue his wife and their unborn baby. But…the war must take precedence.

The Characters

Captain Matthew “Matt” Reddy is in command of the USS Walker. Juan Marcos, a peg-legged Filipino, is the chief steward to Matt and makes the worst coffee. Earl Lanier is the obese cook with a Coke machine obsession. Lieutenant Tab-At “Tabby” is the engineering officer. Isak Reuben is the chief engineer and former fireman who killed the Celestial Mother. Lieutenant Ed Palmer is the comm officer who can speak some French and is good with codes. Commander Bernie Sandison is the torpedo officer. Min-Sakir “Minnie” is the bridge talker. Chief Quartermaster Patrick “Paddy” Rosen is first officer and technically OOD. Lieutenant Pam Cross is their surgeon and in love, stupidly, with Dennis Silva. Ensign Laar-Baa-Ra, a pilot, is in training to become a bridge officer. Imperial Marine Corporal Neely is also on the bridge when the battle begins. Chief Boatswain’s Mate Jeek is securing the watertight doors and rigging pumps. Gunner’s Mate Pak-Ras-Ar “Pack Rat” takes his BAR forward in the boarding action. Commander Brad “Spanky” McFarlane is Matt’s XO and the Minister of Naval Engineering. Lieutenant Sonny Campeti is in charge of the Ordnance Division.

Courtney Bradford is Australian and the closest thing they have to a sociologist. The Americans “own” the islands of Tarakaan, Midway, Andamaan, and Saan Diego.

Lady Sandra Tucker Reddy is Matt’s pregnant wife, being held captive by Kurokawa along with Chairman Adar; Kapitan Leutnant Becher Lange is so angry with the loss of his ship and Kapitan von Melhausen; Gunnery Sergeant Arnold “Gunny” Horn (a former prisoner on the Hidoiame); Diania, Sandra’s bodyguard is an Impie expat; and, two Repub crew-‘Cats off SMS Amerika, Ru-Fet “Ruffy” and Eaan-Daat “Eddie”. Corporal Tass and a Shee-ree named Minaa were in the firefight as well.

The Allies are…

…based at Baalkpan,
a mish-mash of Americans, the first Mi-Anakka (Lemurians), the Imperials, the Republic, and a Grik general the USS Walker encountered.

They’ve saved and/or allied with Aryaal, B’mbaado, B’taava, North Borneo, Sembaakpan, Sular, Austraal, Tjilatjap (Chill-Chaap), the Shogunate of Yokohama, the Filpin Lands, and the Great South Isle (Austraal).

Alan Letts (of the Amer-i-caan Navy Clan) has been appointed Chairman of the United Homes as a stand-in while Adar is a prisoner (he had been the Minister of Industry). Karen is his wife and the assistant minister of medicine. Allison Verdia is their daughter. They’ve also taken in two girls and have a nanny, a one-armed Marine veteran, Unaa-Saan-Mar.

Henry Stokes is the Director of the Office of Strategic Intelligence (OSI). The Busted Screw is an open-sided tavern owned by Pepper, a ‘Cat. He’d been one of Earl Lanier’s cook’s mates on Walker, and Lanier is a silent partner. Pepper is also in partnership with Isak Reuben and Gilbert Yeager who are half-brothers, a.k.a., the Mice, who are engineers and make those nasty PIG-cigs. You do NOT want to know the process involved in making those cigarettes! They’d been wildcatters in their past.

Laap-Zol-Jeks is the chief machinist at the Baalkpan Boiler and Machinery Works.

New Dublin, Raan-Goon, and Madras are fleet carriers.

The Empire of the New Britain Isles is…
…what we know as Hawaii. Lord Bolton Forester is the ambassador to the Alliance. Lieutenant Bachman is Bolton’s aide. Governor-Empress Rebecca Anne McDonald is their ruler. Sir Sean Bates (formerly known as Sean O’Casey) is prime factor and chief advisor to the Governor-Empress.

The Filpin Lands are…
…what we know as the Philippines. Lord Meksnaak, the High Sky Priest, has been left in charge as the acting governor by the ruler, Saan-Kakja. His closest diplomatic advisor is Heraad-Naar, a young ‘Cat. They’ve also been inundated by Impie gals fleeing the Empire that treated them so badly.

The Republic of Real People is…
…what we know as South Africa but is a cold place in this world. Major Bekiaa-Sab-At is the Allies’ advisor to their ruler, Kaiser Nig-Tak, and has been made a legate with the 1st’s and Kim’s personal legions to help get the Republic’s army up to snuff in fighting the Grik. Optio Jack Meek is Bekiaa’s Republic aide (Doocy Meek is his dad).

General Marcus Kim is in charge of the army which will be crossing the Plain of Gaughala in Grik Africa. General Taal-Gaak. General Modius commands 3rd Army. Inquisitor Choon is the chief spy. The disdainful Colonel Lok-Fon is very temporarily in charge of her 23rd Legion. Prefect Bele is the senior cohort commander. I don’t think he likes Lok-Fun, lol. Senior Centurion Tinaas-Kus is third cohort and the only female officer with the Legion.

Lieutenant Toryu Miyata had been a junior navigation officer aboard Amagi who was sent to the Republic to deliver an ultimatum, and he defected. He was also part of the team that killed the Celestial Mother.

The Fliegertruppe, a.k.a., the Air Corps, is only a handful of Cantets, biplanes. They’ll fly in to Fort Melhausen.

A legate is equal to a colonel. A tribune is equal to a major. An optio is equivalent to a lieutenant. The Republic cities in this story include Ostia, Derby, Whitby, Emden; Bicaeaa and Bremen boom with steel mills; and, August and Trier do heavy manufacturing, shipbuilding, and armaments. The Gentaa are rumored to be a hybrid mix of humans and Mi-Anakka. They’re more like a labor union with lots of power. The Dark is a perpetual, ship-killing storm.

The Sa’aarans are…
…Grik-like Pacific islanders taken in by Saan-Kakja. Lawrence is one of them. They’re so grateful that they lobbied for the dangerous Smokeless Propellant Works to contribute to the war effort.

The Shee-ree are…
…a Lemurian tribe Silva and Lawrence found, and they have the most practical philosophy:
“Those who can’t be trusted to live peacefully with others must go away. One way or another. And such are not considered people”. Colonel Ian Miles is still with them.

The Khonashi are…
…a Grik-like tribe in northern Borneo.

The Maroons are…
…distantly related to the Impies, having come through the same squall in the same convoy. They got separated. Will is the Maroon who made contact with the Allies first. He’ll be in charge of the defense of Grik City. Andy is a comrade and seasoned warrior.

Austraal is…
…a new addition to the Alliance without any emphasis on seagoing Homes.

New United States is…
…a smaller country than what we know, as it occupies Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama and is composed of locals and US–Mexican War-era soldiers and sailors.

Leftenant Reynolds (he’s radioing from the Ol’ Zaack, the NUS’s flagship) and Ensign Kari-Faask aimed for NUS to find help for their war with the Holy Dominion. They’re currently based aboard the NUS Congress captained by Ezra Willis in the Caribbean. And where Commander Greg Garrett and the USS Donaghey make contact. Lieutenant Saama-Kera “Sammy” is his executive officer. Chief Bosun’s Mate Jenaar-Laan. Lieutenant (jg) Wendel “Smitty” Smith is the gunnery officer. Tribune Pol-Heena is a Republic officer acting as Marine Lieutenant Haana-Lin-Naar‘s XO. Another Republic officer, Kapitan Leutnant Koor-Susk, serves as Sammy’s sailing master. Surgeon Sori-Maai is their doctor.

Commodore Semmes is waiting to see the Donaghey in Santiago. Admiral Duncan is in charge of the entire Caribbean squadron.

General Halik is…
…a Hij Grik who came to know his own mind and is settling in Persia. He has an alliance with the Allies, and a close one with Enaak and Svec’s cavalry, acting as Halik’s eyes.

The Battlefields

The occupied Grik City in Madagascar is…
…where the Allies’ last battle was at Mahe Island and where Chief Fitzhugh Gray died. Generals Pete Alden (of the Army and Marines; he had merely hitched a ride on original-earth Walker), Safir Maraan (queen of Aryaal and B’mbaado), and Muln-Rolak (commander of I Corps had been the lord protector of Aryaal; Safir Maraan is his queen) are all here. Hij Geerki is a Grik prisoner of Muln-Rolak’s, who has thrown in with the allies. He’s currently the “mayor” of the civilian Grik prisoners. Lieutenant Commander Mark Leedom is a pilot and COFO of air defenses in Grik City, and Lieutenant Paraal-Taas is his co-pilot.

The USNRS Arracca is a Home-turned-aircraft carrier with Tassanna-Ay-Arracca as its high chief, and he will be commodore of the task force against Sofesshk. The Santa Catalina (Santy Cat) is a cruiser commanded by Captain Russ Chappelle and heading for the Go Away Strait. Lieutenant Michael “Mikey” Monk is Chappelle’s XO and current OOD. Lieutenant (jg) Dean Laney is the self-absorbed, jerky but brilliant engineering officer who is on his last chance. Chief Bosun’s Mate Stanley “Dobbin” Dobson. Kathy McCoy is the surgeon commander. Major Simon “Simy” Gutfeld‘s 3rd Marines are aboard.

USNRS Salissa (Big Sal) is an aircraft carrier commanded by Admiral Keje-Fris-Ar who is also the ranking naval officer here; Captain Atlaan-Fas captains Big Sal. Lieutenant Sandy Newman is his XO. And Matt’s dearest Lemurian friend. Captain Jis-Tikkar “Tikker” is her Commander of Flight Operations, the first Lemurian Mallory taught how to fly.

The USS Andamaan is a protected troopship. The USS Tarakaan Island is a self-propelled dry dock. Colonel Ben Mallory commands all the army and naval air forces of the Alliance (he had also hitched a ride on the earth-Walker). Second Lieutenant Niaa-Saa “Shirley” is also “Flashy Four” and part of the attack. Lieutenant Conrad Diebel is Two and Lieutenant (jg) Suaak-Pas-Ra “Soupy” is Three.

Leftenant Doocy Meek is the Republic’s rep at Mahe.

The Enchanted Isles off the coast of Central America is…
…where the Allies encountered the Holy Dominion in battle; we know them as the Galápagos. (The Battle of Malpelo was an expensive victory for the Alliance against The Holy Dominion.) Fort Defiance was defended by General Shinya and X Corps. Gilbert Reuben is the “King Snipe” and engineering officer aboard Maaka-Kakja (Makky-Kat) with Second Fleet. Other ships include Mithra, Centurion, Mars, Captain Ruik will take the Destroyer, a remake of the Dom, Deoses Destructor, with her new crew, a mix of Ruik’s USS Simms and Lieutenant Parr‘s HIMS Icarus. Colonel Lassiter is an idiot.

High Admiral Harvey Jenks of the Empire is Commander-in-Chief-East (CINCEAST) of the Allied Forces. Admiral Lelaa-Tal-Cleraan is his deputy commander. “Tex” Sheider is Lelaa’s XO. They’ve made their headquarters in Elizabethtown on Albermarl Island. Sir Thomas Humphries is the governor.

Major “Blossom” Blas-Ma-Ar is in charge of Task Force Skuggik Chase as they follow Don Hernan’s retreating army along La Frontera Horribles. Sergeant Koratin had been an Aryaalan lord, but has lost his desire for power. First Sergeant Spon-Ar-Aak “Spook” is with A Company after leaving his position as gunner’s mate on Walker. Whistler is Blas’ Marine signal-‘Cat.

Colonel Sister Audry leads her Vengadores (converted Holy Dominion soldiers), commanded by Arano Garcia. Teniente Pacal is one of his company commanders and one of Blas’ friends.

“Captain” Ximen is frail and not a fighter. Captain Ixtli has command of his Jaguar Warriors, the Ocelomeh. The people of Guayak are thrilled to be out from under the Holy Dominion.

Operation Outhouse Rat will…
…open up on the next target for the Alliance. Lieutenant (jg) Saansa-Belkaa is a short ‘Cat piloting a P-40E Warhawk from the deck of Keshaa-Fas. The USS Tassat, a steam frigate DD, is captained by Jarrik-Fas, and his XO is the Impie Lieutenant Stanly Raj. Muraak-Saanga‘s Scott, Naala-Araan‘s Nakja-Mur is the oldest ship besides Walker and Salissa, Commander Perry Brister is in the USS James Ellis (Ellie) as a decoy for Walker. Lieutenant Jeff Brooks is the sound man and steps in as the bridge talker. Paul Stites is manning the main battery. Taarba-Kaar “Tabasco” is the cook. Lieutenant Parks is in the fireroom. Lieutenant Rodriguez must take the auxiliary conn aft.

Colonel Chack-Sab-At is in love with General Queen Safir Maraan who commands Second Corps. He commands the First Raider Brigade. Major Risa Sab-At is his sister and his XO, and in this upcoming battle, she’s with Major Enrico Galay’s 19th Baalkpan (he was the photographer) and a corporal in another war. Major Alistair Jindal is part of the Empire and part of the team that lands on the beach along with Captain Abel Cook who is only seventeen. Khonashi war captain-turned-major I’joorka of the First North Borneo also storms the beach. Lieutenant N’shoosh and Captain Stuart Brassey commands I’joorka’s detachment of Khonashi. Sergeant Ooklak, a Khonashi, is with Brassey. Sergeant Major Moe is an ancient ‘Cat and a hunter. Walt “Jumbo” Fisher, a pilot, commands Pat-Squad 22.

Chief Gunner’s Mate Dennis Silva and his friend Lawrence, a Sa’aaran, are always together and recently back from a rehab tour. Dennis is usually festooned with weapons, including the Doom Stomper. Petey is a tree-gliding reptile, a combination of parrot and lizard who is obsessed with eating. Pokey is a Grik, but on their side.

Lieutenant Nat Hardee captains Lucky Seven and Lieutenant (jg) Rini-Kanaar, his XO, is an amazing woman, er, ‘Cat, so brilliant with navigation due to her Sky Priest studies. Lieutenant (jg) Haan-Dar “Lucky Handy” commands the Four Boat.

The Enemies

The Japanese were…
…chasing the Walker in our world, and they were swallowed by the portal as well. The incredibly insane General of the Sea Hisashi Kurokawa was in command of the Amagi and joined the Grik to take out the Americans. Now the Japanese are based on Zanzibar. General of the Sky Muriname, Kurokawa’s XO, has gone a bit nuts with the “dame famine”. Hara Mikawa is Kurokawa’s flag captain of the cruiser Nachi. Signal Lieutenant Fukui keeps breaking in on Kurokawa. Lieutenant of the Sky Iguri is becoming disenchanted.

Major Maggiore Rizzo is the highest-ranking League representative still on Zanzibar and is unhappy with what Gravois has set in motion and is appalled by what Contre-Amiral Laborde and the Savoie did. That’s one point in his favor. Otherwise, he’s pretty much the same self-absorbed fascist as the others. Capitaine Dupont is one of the League pilots.

The League of Tripoli started as…
…the Confédértion États Souverains. Some of their industrial past in this world includes Macchi, an Italian aircraft company, and Hispano Suiza, which was Spanish, and together they floated BFW, the company for which Willy Messerschmitt worked.

Capitaine de Fregate Victor Gravois is a fascist weasel leading the plan to sow dissension and push for the Doms and the Grik to battle the Allies. Then he attacked the SMS Amerika, a ship full of wounded, and then he gave the Savoie to Kurokawa. Lieutenant Morrisette did his own bit of sabotage. Capitano di Fregata Ciano commands the Leopardo. Oberleuitnant Fiedler has been a POW of the Allies. The Antúnez is an Alsedo class destroyer of Nationalist Spain captained by Capitan de Cobeta Francisco Abuello Falto with Teniente Casales Padillas as his XO. Alferez Tomas Perez Moles is an ensign who came over with the entire Confédértion from old earth. I am so with Garrett on the scorn he heaps on that Moles!! Little frizzle-frazzle-muckety-muck! Their mission is to find the Donaghey. Contrammiraglio Oriana is an Italian captain who runs OVRA, the Italian Organization for Vigilance and Repression of Antifascism and the chief party enforcement arm of the League. Its techniques are too similar to the Dominion’s.

The Palace of Vanished Gods in Old Sofesshk is…
…home base for the Celestial Mother, their ruler who is seen as God-on-Earth in the holy city of the Grik, a lizard-like people who eat their own and everyone else. Lord Regent Champion Esshk, Guardian of the Celestial Bloodline and First General of all the Grik, has “Haliked” his army. The Chooser is the Grik who chooses which Grik are elevated to the Hij class, and the current Chooser is Esshk’s ally, senior advisor, and only confidant. They’re planning their own coup.

Unfortunately for her, Esshk has his own plans for her rule; unfortunately for him, she’s smarter than he expected. Ign is Second General, Esshk’s second-in-command. The Final Swarm is the complete Grik army. Ghaarrichk’k is the Grik language, I think. The Great Hunt is the Grik Holy Grail with the intent to eliminate all other races so the world is theirs.

The Holy Dominion is…
…a perverted government that has twisted the Catholic religion into a horror. The cruel Don Hernan is the pope’s second-in-command and the cardinal who had been ordering the army around. The Matarife is looking for the Donaghey. The Blood Drinkers are the toughest, most ruthless soldiers of the Dominion. A Dom midshipman taken prisoner is quite the “patriot”.

The kudzu bomb was Simon Herring‘s secret weapon to destroy the Grik.”Chiss-chinns” are Christians.

The Cover and Title

The cover is bright with its dark colors. A dark royal blue night with lightning strikes reaching out, a green and light yellow sea encompass the ships firing on each other, a red Grik bird diving for the Walker as it plows through the sea on a downward angle. At the top, a banner of three narrow horizontal lines frame the series information in white. The title is yellow with a black three-D outline while the info blurbs and the author’s name, in white, are at the bottom.

The title is all about Kurokawa and what the Devil’s Due.

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5 responses to “Book Review: Devil’s Due by Taylor Anderson

    • Thanks, Sherry! Please tell your father-in-law that I love him…*grin* It’s a fascinating world the Walker crashes into, with a few native types and all the humans are ones who have stumbled through their own portals from their own timelines. Even the land masses and islands are, fairly, similar.

    • Just a warning, Laura. Once you start, your heart will race, you’ll hold your breath, and you’ll cheer the wins. Anderson writes some great characters and intense action.

    • You’re most welcome, Laura. The series appeals to me in so many ways with its imagination, warmth (and not just from the bombs and bullets *grin*), and their initiative and compassion.

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