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Distant Thunders: Destroyermen Hardcover – Jun 1 2010
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About the Author
Taylor Anderson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Destroyermen series. A gunmaker and forensic ballistic archaeologist, Taylor has been a technical and dialogue consultant for movies and documentaries, and an award-winning member of the National Historical Honor Society and of the United States Field Artillery Association. He has a master’s degree in history and has taught that subject at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.
Top Customer Reviews
If you like a good sea story. Buy it. If you like retro history, this one is a winner. If you just want to curl up with a good book skillfully written so as to draw you into the drama of the main characters then you have made the right choice and I wish you pleasant reading.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In addition, the author is caught in a trap that befalls any multi-book series. He can either assume the reader in the later books has read the previous books and is up to date on them or he needs to constantly insert flashbacks. Here Anderson uses flashbacks and uses them quite a bit so if someone were to have read volume one months or years ago they'd be refreshed as to the tensions and relationships. The downside is if one were to find this series and consume them in rather rapid order, the flashbacks become irritating and slow the narrative down. This book is replete with sentences like, "X looked with annoyance at Y remembering that in the battle of Z, Y failed to perform some task or another." That's fine unless you just read about the battle of Z a few days ago as I had. It seemed to this reviewer that we couldn't get a page or two without yet another flashback.
I understand the need for this so I'm not knocking the book down but thought to mention it as a heads up for readers who may be more annoyed at this than I was.
What has me annoyed is that, like Robert Jordan, Taylor Anderson has found a world which immerses many readers. Rather than have a neat, tight trilogy or two book series, he or his publisher or someone has decided to streeeeeetch this thing out. To me, this would be stronger if the stretching included many more details of the alien societies which are still superficially treated now four books in. Instead, most of the action is among the few humans (two threads of humans, but all human) and the aliens do very little unless they are acting in concert with or in reaction to, humans.
I enjoyed this book as I enjoyed the series but I'm bothered by the prospect that it'll be years before the series finishes dealing with the issues facing it now. In addition, there is a whole new world to explore which could have been and may be in the offing.
I gave up on Jordan's Wheel of Time series when the mid volumes slowed down to glacially narrated office politics. I hope this doesn't occur with Anderson's series, but as of the slowdown in volume four, I'm seeing similar symptoms.
Reddy and his unit make some progress using paddle-wheel steam frigates developed in New Britain as the Americans free cities in the west from the previously invincible conquerors and give new hope to their allies. However when word reaches Reddy that the enemy has captured New British Princess Rebecca Anne McDonald, he rushes back east on the renovated USS Walker to mount a rescue of a key symbol.
The latest Destroyermen science fiction thriller, Distant Thunders, is an action-packed entry with strong relevant moral questions about the rules of combat engagement running throughout the adrenalin pumping story line. Reddy ponders whether negotiations with a species apparently seeking genocide are feasible as the enemy seems resistant to a peaceful solution although the displaced hero recognizes some of the beliefs on both sides may be bogeyman propaganda. He also wonders whether are any weapons of mass destruction include biological, chemical or nuclear in their arsenal that will be used especially on the brink of perhaps extinction acceptable? Taylor Anderson is one of the best at military science fiction as his plots combine cerebral thought provoking issues within a great adventure tale; the alternate realm of the Destroyermen saga is worth the journey.
As a big fan of the first Destroyermen series, I preordered Distant Thunders and read it at a quick pace.
The story, picking up shortly after the large battle at Baalkapan, unfolded nicely, albeit a little predictably.
The New Brits, briefly introduced in Maelstrom, were a nice touch and, trust me, they provide plenty of action and trouble.
Some of the technological achievements of the Alliance seem a little far-fetched. However, I know Taylor Anderson is very serious about his research, and therefore am able to buy into this aspect of the story. There are a few fairly large passages dedicated to explaining how these weapon production efforts are put into place, and they might be tedious for non-technical readers. Not for me , though,I enjoy this kind of stuff.
The main problem with this book is that nothing much happens. Yes, things happen, but somehow the plot didn't keep me on the edge of my seat, as it has been the case with the previous books. Also, character development is kind of lacking. I feel that happened because by now there are way too many characters to keep track of. The Lemurian perspective does not appear alien at all. I guess they have all either speedily adopted American thought patterns, or Anderson kind of gave up on character development. And this brings me to another issue. I felt at times that this book is not as polished as the previous. Almost as if it was rushed, or the author is not as much into it as he used to be. Since I visited Taylor's website, where he maintains a lively discussion with readers, I know that to not be the case. Therefore I feel that it's the editor's fault.
I will give this book 4 out of 5 stars because I enjoyed it and because I really really dig the universe Taylor Anderson has created. I wish that in subsequent books he focuses more on fewer characters (without killing any of them though, I have grown fond of them!). I also wish for a better, more thorough editing process.
But Captain Reddy and his crew continue to persevere. Even in the face of interaction with the New Britain Imperial Navy and the increasing threat of the Grik don't seem to keep them down. The action is pretty non-stop, with a lot of story lines going on at the same time. The main focus is on the developing relationship and exploration of the New Britain (and the associated "Company" (Far East India Trading Company basically) which is the power that is manipulating the throne) given that they have the Princess Rebecca in their protection. While CPT Reddy is away an agent of the Company kidnaps Rebecca, her protector Dennis Silva as well as Reddy's fiance are kidnapped.
A lot of this book was build-up. Exploring the development of additional technologies and critical repairs that hopefully will pay off in the future novels. In addition to the Grik menace, the less than friendly Imperials there is also hints of another set of humans located in the America's that may present another threat in the future. Lots of space for these threads to continue to develop. I already picked up the next book in the series because I am excited to see how it develops.