Monday, July 22, 2019

Book Review: River of Bones, by Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson’s 13th novel (this is a review of the paperback edition) in his Destroyermen series, River of Bones picks up exactly from where the previous novel in the series, Devil’s Due ends.

Destroyermen centres on the exploits on the crew of the elderly “four-stacker” destroyer, USS Walker, led by Commander Matthew Reddy and her crew who, catapulted from their own universe in the early days of the Second World War in the Pacific into an alternate world, they find themselves in the midst of an even more desperate struggle between their soon-to-be Lemurian allies and the reptilian Grik.

Now almost three years into their new war, and after acquiring new allies – and enemies – Reddy and the alliance are at the tipping point. Still recovering from the pyrrhic victories from the events of the previous two books, they must undertake a desperate Hail-Mary pass, sending the merchantman-turned-protected cruiser Santa Catalina and her crew up the Zambezi River and deep into Grik Africa to block the oncoming Final Swarm and buy time.

Once again, Anderson treats us to wall-to-wall action wrapped up with top-notch characterizations of both protagonist and antagonist alike as the outnumbered crew of the Santa Catalina fight for their lives in last-stand combat worthy of the Alamo. Of course, with a series this long and well-developed, the author leaves himself plenty of time for characters to develop and when we experience their deaths, we feel it even more so.  As I’ve mentioned before, the author’s skills in both world-building and in the slow reveal are on full display here as he gives a master’s level course for any aspiring author. 

Over the next few novels in the series, it looks like Anderson is setting us up for the final battle between the Grik, while at the same time, building the pace for the ultimate showdown with the newly revealed alliance between the Holy Dominion and the League of Tripoli. 

I highly recommend the book and the series – that is, for anyone who is not yet familiar with it. Other than that, I can only pay it perhaps the highest compliment I can give in my current financial straitened circumstances: I almost bought the next book in the series, Pass of Fire, in hardcover.

What’s next?

I’ve just started reading Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel, a so-called “young adult” novel, which takes place in alternate late 19th/ early 20th century where heavier-than-air flight never got off the ground and giant airships are the means of commerce. More on this later.

In the meantime, you can help out a poor unemployed writer by purchasing Elvis Saves JFK! for just 99 cents and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, for $2.99 and now The Key to My Heart, also $2.99 (all are free to preview). All books -- which are already on Smashword's premium distribution list -- are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Sony, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.  Thanks.