Destroyermen 1: Into the Storm (Review)

Destroyermen 1: Into the Storm (Review)

his book should count for two reviews. I checked it out of the local library for a recent road trip. Listened to it while the miles zipped past, smiling. Decided at the end that I liked it well enough to look into the series. Fifteen books. And Norfolk’s local bookstores could come up with ten of them. Bought those and ordered the rest. just re-read the first one.

So, the Destroyermen series starts with Into the Storm  in the opening days of the Pacific War in World War 2, with the Japanese Navy devouring anything in its path. The USS Walker (along with the Mahan) are two four-stacker destroyers of World War One vintage, tasked to escort HMS Exceter to dry dock. No, don’t look for them in the history books – they weren’t really there. But the force gets trashed by Japanese cruisers and Walker and Mahan end up dodging and running from the Imperial Warship Amagi. They manage to crash their way past it, diving into a crazy storm.

And when they come out, they are all alone.

Then strange things happen. They find the oceans are filled with toothy, ravenous fish of the type no one has ever seen. The radio is dead. And eventually, when they reach Bali, they find no human habitation, just empty jungles and (clincher) dinosaurs.

Turns out they didn’t go back in time (as pointed out, the landscape would have been totally different and their charts would have been useless). Rather, they went into some sort of alternate universe, one where there was no event that erased the dinosaurs. And as they carefully explore this world, they find two dominant species.  First, there are the Lemurians who are peaceful “money-cats” (or “cat-monkeys”, as the crew debates) who have fled from Madagascar in giant sailing homes. And then there are the Grik, a race of evolved Velociraptors who sail about in things which look like English Indiaman Clipperships (oh ho – so Walker was not the first ship to come through!). And so Walker and its crew must decide which side to aid and how to conserve their fuel and weapons so as to face the world they find themselves in.

Like I said, I really like this series and have enjoyed the first one (and, spoiler, the second book too). They are well written, the characters interesting, and the history/technology fairly solid. If I have one complaint, it’s that the books do NOT come with some sort of numbering system, meaning you have to find the list and carefully keep them on your shelf in correct order. That simply makes no sense (to a collector like myself). But it’s a minor complain to a series that is opening up around me. Worth a look!