Sunday, October 4, 2020

Book Review: Pass of Fire by Taylor Anderson


The latest entry in paperback in author Taylor Anderson’s Destroyermen series, is Pass of Fire. It’s the 14th  and penultimate entry in the series, which begins the set up for the events to come in the final novel, Winds of Wrath.

For newcomers to the space, the Destroymen series tells the story of the captain and crew and the crew of the aging “tin-can” World War Two destroyer USS Walker, thrust into a parallel earth, where the asteroid strike that wiped the dinosaurs never occurred.  Throughout the series Captain Matthew Reddy and his crew allied themselves with friendly Lemurians who  against the reptilian Grik, who have allied themselves with the crew of a Japanese battlecruiser, Amagi, commanded by Captain Kurokawa, whom the transition between realities has been too much who has become insane.

The series can be best seen and digested as occurring in a series of cycles that first see Reddy and his allies (who grow to include various groups of descendants of other time-lost humans) stop the Grik and then ultimately start to push them back. Other cycles introduce newer enemies including the bloodily theocratic Holy Dominion and most recently, the more technologically-advanced  fascist League of Tripoli, the latter who come from an alternate second world war.

Spoilers ahead

I’ll be upfront here. Pass of Fire is all about clearing decks for the action to come in the concluding volume of the series. By the end of this installment, the Grik have been all but defeated, except for a small remnant commanded by General Esshek. Reddy and his allies have taken the Grik capital, and not only capturing their queen, the Celestial Mother, but making them allies as well.

But now the emphasis shifts solidly on what’s to come. News comes that the League of Tripoli has sortied its battlefleet of modern battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, in aid of its ally, the Holy Dominion.  The odds are against Reddy and the Allies who are scrambling to develop modern warships of their own.  He must gather together his scratch force which is both smaller presumably smaller in size and quality. 

For fans of the series, like myself, this and the next book will be required reading. Throughout the series and into this book, author Anderson maintained a steady narrative drumbeat. Characters continue to be refined and developed – although how much can do be done with a cast this large – is debatable, but this is a natural outcome of epic series like this. 

Strongly recommended not only for fans of the series, but for fans of the genre. If you haven’t picked up the series yet, or have put it down along the way, there’s still time for one massive binge-read.

Mea Culpa

I must apologize for missing last month’s post. I seem to be getting sloppy. I have been struggling a little bit as of late, and sometimes things do slip. I hope all of you are well and are managing in the current situation. 

What's Next?

Up next, I have a novel by Robert J. Sawyer, The Oppenheimer Alternative, which retells the story of one of the 20th century’s most influential scientists in a different light. 

In the meantime, you can purchase 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.  

Take care of yourselves.