Book Review: Taylor Anderson’s Iron Gray Sea

Posted August 16, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

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.

Book Review: Taylor Anderson’s Iron Gray Sea

Iron Gray Sea


Taylor Anderson

military science fiction that was published by ROC on July 3, 2012 and has 448 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Rising Tides, Firestorm, Storm Surge, Straits of Hell, Deadly Shores

Seventh in the Destroyermen military science-fiction series set in an alternate world.

My Take

Hah! You only thought it was busy before…! Anderson is absolutely brilliant!! The tension, the drama…I swear my heart stopped a few times! It’s Robinson Crusoe meets World War II — a make-do attitude, consorting with the natives, and using the “high” tech of the ships, planes, and weaponry of earthside’s World War II. Right along with the sailing ships already in existence in this alternate world.

The battles are heating up…everywhere. Off the Sea of Japan, with the Grik off the coast of India and the Doms in California, the New British Empire with the sabotage and bombings, and a new threat right at home in Baalkpan.

As usual, Matt puts duty and honor before all else as do most of the characters in this story. Although, Matt does succumb and we finally get our happy event!

Sandra Tucker is quite pleased that the navy is going to have to get used to women serving aboard — Lemurians and Imperial women if Matt wants a full crew.

There’s quite a bit of shuffling of personnel in this, hence the labeling for groups of characters. Lord knows, there are enough characters to people a world.

The Story

It begins with the refurbished Mizuki Maru pursuing the murderous crew of the Hidoiame, a Japanese destroyer which slaughtered the people residing in Okada’s shogunate. And there’s a chance, a very small chance that Okada has survived.

Walker is desperately in need of a refit and a dry dock. A need that Matt ignores when he gets the news about Okada and other ships sent to investigate. The only positive before the Walker heads back into action is the wedding we’ve all been waiting for.

Flynn’s Rangers and Queen Maraan’s Second Corps are trapped in and around Rocky Gap. They are the first to experience the new Grik who doesn’t turn prey. The naval battle between Ellis and Kurokawa is somewhat heart-in-mouth until Keje takes the plunge.

As part of his welcome home, Bernie and some of the others have contrived a replacement for Silva’s “Doom Whomper”.

With the Courts of Directors disbanded and the Proprietors dead, the disgraced Lord High Admiral James McClain is still in charge of the Navy because he wasn’t dismissed from the service. Yet. He is, however, the man the government will turn to to assign the orphaned princess a guardian. Unless they can find the proof of his complicity.

There is weapons experimentation on both sides with surprises on both sides. The war against the Grik is not going well. And Captain Reddy’s position as CINCAF is threatened by Herring’s beginning power grab.

There is some hope. Lt. Miyata has delivered his message to the Africans and suggested they seek out allies amongst his own enemies and Emperor Nig-Taak orders the repair of the Amerika. Captain Saachic encountered strange humans who were observing the battle. Generals Alden and Maraan have entrenched around the big lake. Friends AND Fred are rescuing Kari from her cage in the Dominion. And Matt has an idea that may have as great an impact as Jimmy Doolittle’s attack on Tokyo.

Adar is under threat as the supreme commander of the alliance.

Unfortunately, Kurokawa seems to be learning diplomacy even as he descends further into his madness…

The Characters

“Lord” Commander Sato Okada is “now Seii Taishogun of the newly established Shogunate of Yokohama, Jaapan” which is populated by humans and Lemurians.

The crew of the U.S.S. Walker

…was aboard the U.S.S. Walker when she sailed through a storm, a portal on the seas, which found the crew of the four-stacker destroyer isolated in a world that evolved differently from their own earth.

Lieutenant Commander (Captain) Matthew Reddy was and still is the captain of the Walker. In addition, he has become High Chief of the Amer-i-caan clan as well as Commander-in-Chief of All Allied Forces (CINCAF) “of all the powers united beneath (or beside) the Banner of the Trees”.

Nurse Lieutenant Sandra Tucker is also the Alliance’s Minister of Medicine as well as Captain Reddy’s fiancée. Diania serves as Sandra’s steward and was her “first human female recruit into the American Navy”. A carpentress on Respite, she’s fascinated by Boats Gray. An interest he returns.

The one-legged Juan Marcos is Matt’s personal steward. And makes terrible coffee. Taarba-Kar “Tabasco” handles the tea. Lieutenant Tab-At “Tabby” is the engineering officer on Walker. Earl Lanier is still the ship’s cook. First Lieutenant Norman Kutas is the former chief quartermaster. Chief Bosun Fitzhugh “Boats” Gray is Super Bosun and Matt would like him to create a school for Naval NCOs. Carl Bashear is now Chief Bosun’s Mate. Chief Gunner’s Mate Paul Stites will take over the Captain’s Guard. Brad “Spanky” McFarlane was Walker‘s engineering officer but was promoted to exec. He’s also allergic to cat hair. Minnie is chief of engineering. Sonny Campeti is brilliant at manual gun control. Ed Palmer is the communications officer.

First Fleet, Task Force Arraca

Commodore James Ellis is in command off the southeast coast of Grik India. Niaal-Ras-Kavaat is his exec. Captain Jis-Tikkar “Tikker” is Commander of Flight Operations (COFO) for the First Naval Air Wing. Lieutenant Commander Mark Leedom is the acting COFO for Army and Naval air out of Madras and takes refuge with Flynn’s Rangers when he’s shot down. General Pete Alden is in Madras and in charge of the ground troops. Colonel William Flynn and his Rangers. Captain Saachic is in charge of the meanie cavalry. Captain Bekiaa-Sab-At is Flynn’s second. Commander-in-Chief-West (CINCWEST) Admiral Keje-Fris-Ar is in command of Salissa, a ‘Cat home converted to an aircraft carrier.


High Chief and Sky Priest of Baalkpan and Chairman of the Grand Alliance of all Allied Powers beneath (or beside) the Banner of the Trees Adar has faith. Commander Alan Letts serves as Chief of Staff to Adar and Reddy as well as Minister of Industry for the entire Alliance. After the Ceylon Campaign, Letts realizes his particular strength and he establishes a Division of Strategic Logistics. He has a daughter Allison Verdia with Karen, the surgeon commander. Commander Perry Brister is Minister of Defensive Works. Now-Colonel Benjamin Mallory rescued the P-40 “Warhawks” from the Santa Catalina. He’s now in charge of the Army and Navy Air Corps for the Alliance.

Corps of Discovery
The Corps of Discovery is a new idea. An expedition assigned to contact other creatures who are like Lawrence and at risk from the Grik. The newly promoted Ensign Abel Cook will be in charge. Moe, a ‘Cat hunter on Baalkpan and others will also take part. Chief Gunner’s Mate Dennis Silva is a rogue assigned to Bernie Sandison in Ordnance along with Lawrence, for all that he resembles a Grik, who is loyal to the Alliance. Both Silva and Lawrence, a Tagranesi, are also secondarily assigned to the Corps of Discovery to ensure its safety. Nurse Lieutenant Pam Cross is assigned as their doctor. And she’s not too happy with Silva.

Risa-Sab-At is one of Silva’s girlfriends and further along with her Marines regiment than her brother Chack; Pam Cross is the other. Sister Audrey, Midshipman Stuart Brassey, and Ronson Rodriguez were some of the people with whom Silva was marooned. Isak Rueben is one of the original Mice and is moaning about having to abandon his fledging tobacco business to fly back to help with Walker‘s refit.

Lieutenant Irvin Laumer was a submariner when his boat was pulled through to this world and is assigned to figure out what can be done to rebuild the S-19.

The POWs who somehow survived the Hidoiame are leery of getting involved in another war and include Commander Simon Herring (who has delusions of grandeur) was with the Office of Naval Intelligence; Gunnery Sergeant Arnold Horn who joins the Corps of Discovery; Lance Corporal Ian Miles; Lieutenant Conrad Diebel who joins the air force; and, Leading Seaman Henry Stokes becomes Herring’s aide. One of their biggest concerns is the ‘Cats and their bigotry shows.

The Fil-pin Lands

High Chief Saan-Kakja of all the Fil-pin Lands rules what the Americans knew as the Philipines. She doesn’t like the Empire and the ambassador has his work cut out for him. His Excellency Lord Bolton Forester is “the new ambassador from the Empire of the New British Isles” and a friend of the governor-emperor. He has been assigned to the Fil-pin Lands. Lieutenant Bachman is his aide.

Marine Major (Bosun’s Mate at sea) Chack-Sab-At has been assigned to Manila to train old and new Marines into a British-style commando unit where he’ll be closer to his “beloved Safir Maraan, General-Queen Protector of B’mbaado”, a corps commander in the First Fleet Expeditionary Element. Major Jindal and his regiment of Imperial Marines from New Ireland will join him as will some of the POW survivors of Mizuki Maru.

The New Britain Imperials

Governor-Emperor Gerald McDonald rules the New British Isles and has allied with the Lemurians and Americans. Princess Rebecca Anne McDonald is almost 13 and heir to the Empire of the New British Isles. Her adventures have made her restless and it’s this that saves her. Petey is her furry, flying, sentient pet. Sean “O’Casey” Bates is Governor-Emperor Gerald’s Imperial Factor and Chief of Staff. Mrs. Carr is the housekeeper.

Courtney Bradford was an Australian petroleum engineer aboard Walker when she came through and he has a fascination for flora and fauna and has found this new world an exciting new place. He’s currently on New Britain as ambassador for the Alliance. He’ll stay on and help Princess Rebecca through the transition caused by the bombing. Sergeant Koratin had been a noble ‘Cat on Jaava, but the war and his exposure to real corruption have changed him around. Lieutenant Ezekial Krish of the Imperial Navy serves as Bradford’s liaison.

Inhabitants of the island of Respite
Governor Radcliff is thrilled with the overthrow of the Honorable New Britain Company; Emelia is his wife and has been his most influential advisor for years. At last, she is coming out into the open.

The Invasion of the Dominion – Task Force Maaka-Kakja
Imperial Commodore and newly appointed Commander-in-Chief-East (CINCEAST) of the Grand Alliance Harvey Jenks has replaced the idiot former Admiral McClain. Jenks is in command of the invasion of the Dominion and the relief of the Enchanted Isles. He is still in command of his ship, Achilles, but when battle commences, command will be handed off to Lieutenant Grimsley. Marine Captan Blas-Ma-Ar leads a mixed regiment of Lemurian and Imperial Marines. Stumpy has become Jenks’ technical liaison and an unofficial bodyguard.

Admiral Lelaa-Tal-Cleraan is the commander of Maaka-Kakja and her task force. Chief Gilbert Yeager, one of the original fireroom Mice, is a terrible teacher and in charge of engineering with a mostly ‘Cat engineering crew. Tex Sheider was S-19’s radioman and how he’s one of Lelaa’s best friends and her exec. Brevet General Tamatsu Shinya is in command of the ground forces with Imperial Colonel Blair his second. Second Lieutenant Orrin Reddy is the Acting Lieutenant Commander and COFO for the 3rd Naval Air Wing; he’s also Matt’s favorite cousin. Orrin was one of the POWs who survived. Kuaar-Ran-Taak “Seepy” is his copilot/spotter/wireless-operator. Doc’Selass, Keje-Fris-Ar’s daughter and personal physician to the Imperial family, flies in to take charge at the hospital.

Sir Humphries is governor for the Enchanted Isles and you’ll get a laugh over his obsession with his tortoises.

The Republic of Real People

This country located on the cape of Africa consists of people who came through from their world in the change during the storms that rage on the cape. They were welcomed by the Lemurians who lived there although that is not to say that tensions do not exist.

Lieutenant Toryu Miyata is on a mission to contact humans living somewhere on the cape of Africa. Truly a diplomatic overture when the message from the Grik is “Join or die”.

Kapitan Leutenant Becher Lange and Leftenant Doocy Meek are some of the men who rescued Toryu. General Marcus Kim represents the military high command of the Republic of Real People, Inquisitor Kon-Choon, a Lemurian, is a high-level intelligence officer. The SMS Amerika is the German WWI ship that Becher arrived on and is currently used as the War Palace for His Most Excellent Highness, the Emperor Nig-Taak. Kapitan Adlar Von Melhausen was the commander of the Amerika and is now the keeper of the War Palace.

The Enemy

The Japanese
General of the Sea Hisashi Kurokawa was the captain of the Amagi Maru chasing the Walker back in the old world. He and his crew allied themselves with the Grik. He’s fashioned a new position for himself at the expense of his crew. Although, he has received the island of Zanzibar from the Celestial Mother, the ruler of all the Grik, as a reward where most of his men reside or visit. And where he is working on new weapons and ships that will only benefit his Japanese. His ultimate goal is to rule the entire Grik empire.

General of the Sky Hideki Muriname is rebuilding an air fleet from their one remaining Type 95 floatplane. Its structure and instruments are the models for the Grik dirigibles. Commander Riku is the head of Ordnance for the Grik and the Japanese. Signal Lieutenant Fukui is in charge of the Japanese radio and his department has picked up a weak transmission from an unknown source.

Captain Kurita commands the Hidoiame. The man who murdered his POWs and the villagers in Okada’s lands.

The Grik
N’galsh is the Vice Regent of India and Ceylon and not long for this world. A weak, fearful, officious Grik. Regent Tsalka lost Ceylon and Kurokawa insisted he pay the price.

Lord General Halik had been raised from the rank of Uul to Hij after surviving for so long in the fights. He thinks outside the box and his superiors want this ability. General Orochi Niwa of the Jaaph Hunters is Halik’s co-commander. First General Esshk is the Grik in charge.

The Dominion
Signals Ensign Kari-Faask is held prisoner in a cage on the plaza where human sacrifices are made in the name of the Dominion. She’s held out for a long time, but is now at the end of her endurance. The citizens of the Dominion think she’s an animal. Lieutenant (jg) Fred Reynolds was the pilot of their airship and Kari’s best friend. He’s succumbed to their brainwashing.

Blood Cardinal Don Hernan was the guilty party on New Scotland and escaped back to California.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a deep blue rippling water surface with four gray aircraft attacking the main Jap-Grik ship, ArataAmgi, as a second destroyer stands off.

Truly, the ocean is becoming an Iron Gray Sea as the seas of this alternate world are becoming crowded with the new steel ships being produced by the Japanese allies of the Grik as well as the allies of the Americans and the Imperials.


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