Book Review: Taylor Anderson’s Storm Surge

Posted August 23, 2013 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 Storm Surge

Storm Surge


Taylor Anderson

military science fiction that was published by Penguin on July 2, 2013 and has 448 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Rising Tides, Firestorm, Iron Gray Sea, Straits of Hell, Deadly Shores

Eighth in the Destroyermen military science fiction fantasy existing in an alternate universe as the World War II crews cope with a different kind of war.

My Take

I consider this a bridge story, and it’s a game of waiting. Waiting for improvements to weapons, ships, and personnel who need to heal. A dangerous game of waiting as too many are under siege. Anderson really knows how to keep the tension on, although this particular story is not as dramatic as the earlier ones. Mostly, I suspect, due to its bridging qualities as Anderson positions the world, prepping for the big push with new allies and new weapons as they go up against an increasingly superior Grik force and too many unknowns in the Dominion. Be prepared…you will find it most difficult to stop reading!

Herring’s attitude is so stupidly superior, especially for a man who has never seen combat let alone had to command. Just about every word out of his mouth is snark, sarcasm, and demeaning. Can you tell I hate him? I do wonder if he’s undercover for one of the Alliance’s enemies! AND, he’s been influencing Adar on a weapon of which Matt disapproves.

Petey, Rebecca’s pet, provides comic relief. A good thing as I could use some relief from Herring’s superiority! I did enjoy the first meeting between Matt and Herring. Herring is so not prepared for Matt.

“He blinked humility, as he’d learned to do.”

Although at the end, I think Anderson had Herring give in too easily. Makes me wonder what he’s up to. Me? I wanna take him out back and smack him around. Although, Matt does inadvertently prove his own point.

It’s an interesting allusion to how Britain treated its American colonies and the “Honorable” New Britain Company. One and the same, too busy protecting and enriching itself to consider how their actions impact their clients, their country, or their allies.

The merging of the ‘Cats and the humans is gorgeous with Adar seeing Letts as a son and ‘Cats who are even more inventive than humans. Such a dramatic contrast from the Grik — their healers’ title is Chooser of meats. Yuck…!

Whoooaaa, Halik has been greatly influenced by Niwa and is changing all sorts of things about Grik battle. And this is just the start! Look out Kurokawa…hee-heeeee…

I love how thoroughly Anderson takes us into this world. It’s not just the appearances, but the attention to detail on manners, cultural mores, the uniforms, the music, the differences and similarities between the species — all with a shared goal. I do have to wonder what inspired Anderson AND what influenced the Dominion religion. It sounds so like a vicious blend of Catholicism and Mayan religions. I am curious as to whether Anderson will ever reveal how the two got so twisted!

The Story

For the Alliance, it’s a game of waiting and fretful healing. Waiting for improvements to weapons, ships, and healing personnel. A dangerous game of waiting as too many are under siege. And it opens with a baseball game, a game at which the Cats excel! A win which helps offset the spirit of defeat hanging over Walker‘s crew and the unknown fate of the Hidoiame.

Both Walker and Reddy are healing, frustrated for they are desperate to bring relief to Alden and Safir where they’re besieged by the Grik army. And Matt has thought up a dangerous plan which might turn the war or see them all dead. A plan he will have to push through an increasingly belligerent Herring and a fretful Adar.

Meanwhile, Jenks and Second Fleet are chomping at the bit as they prepare to attack the Dominion against unknown odds while Fred and Kari are on the run, the Doms at their heels.

And there’s Kurokawa’s influence, his knowledge which has provided the Grik with better battleships, zeppelins, weapons. We can only hope the Grik realize what a snake they are sheltering.

Worse, both enemies of the Alliance learn of each other…although the Alliance does have two secret missions in hand: Commander Greg Garrett in one direction and the Corps of Discovery in another.

The Characters

The crew of the U.S.S. Walker…
…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 Matthew Reddy is captain of the Walker, the High Chief of the Amer-i-caan clan and Supreme Commander of All Forces United Beneath the Banner of the Trees. In Iron Gray Sea, 7, he and Nurse Lieutenant Sandra Tucker, the Alliance’s Minister of Medicine, have finally gotten married. Now that the dame shortage is over! Diania is Sandra’s steward, secretary, and friend, and she’s fascinated by Boats Gray. An interest he returns. The one-legged Juan Marcos is Matt’s personal steward who makes the worst coffee. Lieutenant Tab-At “Tabby” is the engineering officer on Walker. Earl Lanier is still the ship’s cook and very unhappy with his kitchen rebuild. But at least the Coke machine is still intact. Chief Bosun Fitzhugh “Boats” Gray is Chief Bosun of the Navy, the Super Bosun, and in command of the Captain’s Guard. Brad “Spanky” McFarlane is now Walker’s exec and the Minister of Naval Engineering. Minnie is chief of engineering; Isak Rueben, one of the original Mice, comes back to Walker as chief engineer under? with? Minnie. Sonny Campeti is brilliant at manual gun control. Ed Palmer is the communications officer. Gunner’s Mate Pak-Ras-Ar, a.k.a., Pack Rat, has an amazing arm as left fielder for the ship. Jeek makes a good pitcher, cunning with a nasty curveball.

Meksnaak is Saan-Kakja’s High Sky Priest and the umpire for the starting baseball game. On a less-fun note, he’s worried about this eleks-tricky.

First Fleet, Task Force Arraca

Commodore James Ellis is in command off the southeast coast of Grik India. Niaal-Ras-Kavaat is his exec.

General Pete Alden and his Allied Expeditionary Force are holding tight in defense of Rocky Gap in Madras near where Colonel William Flynn and his Rangers were destroyed between South and North Hill. General Queen Safir Maraan of B’mbaado and her people are trapped there as well. Haasa is an old B’mbaadan warrior who is Safir’s personal servant and the closest she has to a father. Captain Saachic is in charge of the meanie cavalry. Captain Bekiaa-Sab-At, Flynn’s second, was badly wounded and now uses her sniping skills to great effect before she heads out with Garrett’s task force; Lieutenant Commander Mark Leedom got her out of the trap that caught Flynn’s Rangers. Captain Jis-Tikkar “Tikker”, Commander of Flight Operations (COFO) for the First Naval Air Wing, has been ordered to Big Sal. Major Daanis is one of the PB-1B pilots keeping them supplied. There’s also a General Daanis, a part of Safir’s life as long as she could remember, in charge of 3rd Division. General Lord Muln-Rolak, an old enemy of Safir’s, has become addicted to his watch! Hij-Geerki is his pet Grik, who has been slipping behind enemy lines and spying.

Commander-in-Chief-West (CINCWEST) Admiral Keje-Fris-Ar, Matt’s oldest friend on this world, is in command of a very battered Salissa, a ‘Cat home converted to a steam-driven aircraft carrier. He desperately wants in on Matt’s plan.


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 is determined to take the blame. Commander Alan Letts serves as Chief of Staff to Adar and Reddy as well as Minister of Industry for the entire Alliance. He’s also about to get several nasty surprises. Married to Karen, the surgeon commander, they have a daughter, Allison Verdia. Bernie Sandison is the acting Minister of Ordnance and working on perfecting the dysfunctional torpedoes. Rolando “Ronson” Rodriquez (he will become Mahan‘s CEM for the big push) and Commander Steve Riggs, Minister of Communications and Electrical Contrivances, are in charge of the electrical systems and batteries. Lance Corporal Miles (one of the Hidoiame POWs) reinvents the field telephone and joins Walker with Herring. The Castaway Cook, more commonly known as the Busted Screw, was started up by Lanier and is run by a ‘Cat named Pepper.

The crew of the U.S.S. Mahan
Commander Perry Brister is Minister of Defensive and Industrial Works at Baalkpan is commanding Mahan again with Chief Bosun’s Mate Carl Bashear stepping down to lieutenant as his exec. Sonarman Jeff Brooks perfected the sonar sets being used and will be first lieutenant and quartermaster. Johnny Parks is now a machinist’s mate (engine) and becomes engineering officer. Chief Gunner’s Mate Paul Stites is in charge of the gunnery. Taarba-Kar, a.k.a., Tabasco, is cook with Sandra as surgeon.

Colonel Benjamin Mallory is in charge of the Army and Navy Air Corps for the Alliance and desperate for bombs that will work against battleships. At the moment, he’s leading what’s left of the 3rd Pursuit Squadron attempting to defend against Grik zeppelins. Lieutenant Conrad Diebel, who joined the air force, was one of the Hidoaime‘s prisoners. Shirley, a.k.a., Niaa-Saa, has Flashy Three as her call sign. Lieutenant Soupy. Sergeant Cecil Dixon is supposed to deliver his supplies.

Marine Major (Bosun’s Mate at sea) Chack-Sab-At is in overall command of the two newly formed commando brigades: his sister, Captain Risa-Sab-At, one of Silva’s girlfriends, is further along with her Marines 7th regiment, and Major Jindal is in command of the 21st commando regiment. Each includes a battalion of Imperial Marines.

The crew of the U.S.S. Santa Catalina
Commander Russ Chapelle is the most experienced combat skipper, although he thinks of himself as a jumped-up torpedo man, and is now in command. Monk and Dean Laney, her engineering officer, are part of the crew. Commander Kathy McCoy is in charge of the medical bay.

Men tasked with discovering new allies
The mission of the Corps of Discovery expedition is to contact other creatures who are like Lawrence and at risk from the Grik. Ensign Abel Cook is in charge with Gunnery Sergeant Arnold Horn, an old friend of Silva’s and one of the prisoners of the Hidoaime; Moe, a ‘Cat hunter on Baalkpan; Nurse Lieutenant Pam Cross is assigned as their doctor; Midshipman Stuart Brassey; Chief Gunner’s Mate Dennis Silva, a most lovable rogue arrayed with enough weapons to look like a Mexican bandit; Lawrence, a Tagranesi (looks like a Grik but hates them); Pokey; and, a few of their Grik prisoners. An assignment more dangerous than expected with even more unexpected results.

The Khonashi
Captain I’joorka leads the group which finds the Corps of Discovery. Tony Scott is one of the old Walker crew who was eaten. I think the Grik-like inhabitants are called Sa’aarans. The Fristar Home, led by Anai-Sa, has been captured by the Hidoiame.

Garrett’s task force
Commander Greg Garrett and his task force are on a mission of exploration with Lieutenant Saama-Kera and Leiutenant (jg) Wendell “Smitty” Smith is the Donaghey‘s gunnery officer.

The crew of the U.S.S. S-19
Lieutenant Irvin Laumer, a submariner, is redesigning the S-19 which will go into battle. Danny Porter is chief of the boat. Nat Hardee and Sandy Whitcomb are part of her human crew.

Other POWs who somehow survived the Hidoiame
Many are afraid of getting involved in another war and that includes Commander Simon Herring, who has his own ideas of how the war should be fought, and he is the Minister of Strategic Intelligence — he is not gaining new friends! Leading Seaman Henry Stokes is Herring’s chief of staff. Carpenter’s Mate Third Class Winston “Winny” Rominger chose to stay a civilian but he is designing PT boats.

The Fil-pin Lands

High Chief Saan-Kakja of all the Fil-pin Lands rules what we think of as the Philippines with a new alliance with the Empire. His Excellency Lord Bolton Forester is the ambassador from the Empire of the New British Isles assigned to the Fil-pin Lands. He’s a friend of the late governor-emperor and takes up in defense of Matt. Lieutenant Bachman is his aide.

The New Britain Imperials

Governor Empress Rebecca Anne McDonald is almost 13 and has ascended to the throne of the Empire of the New British Isles with the assassination of her parents in Iron Gray Sea. She’s pushing everyone she loves away including Petey, her furry, flying, sentient pet. Sean “O’Casey” Bates is factor now. Mrs. Carr is the housekeeper. Courtney Bradford, an Australian petroleum engineer aboard Walker when she came through, leaves the new British Isles and Rebecca after she takes over. Former High Admiral, Lord James McClain, goes on trial for high treason, and he’s totally clueless. Ambassador Sister Audry is a Dutch Benedictine nun who had been stranded with the S-19 and its crew. Now she’s exploring the Dom religion and how it differs from her own version of Catholicism. Lord Sergeant Koratin was with Sister Audry on New Scotland.

The Invasion of the Dominion – Task Force Maaka-Kakja, Second Fleet
High Admiral and Commander-in-Chief-East (CINCEAST) of the Grand Alliance Harvey Jenks is in command of the invasion of the Dominion and the relief of the Enchanted Isles, and he’s missing the command of his ship, Achilles. Lieutenant Grimsley is in command of her now. Marine Captain 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 for the Allied Naval Forces. Chief Gilbert Yeager, one of the original fireroom Mice and Isak’s half-brother, is with Second Fleet supporting operations around the Enchanted Isles.

Brevet General Tamatsu Shinya is in command of the ground forces with Imperial Colonel Blair his second. Second Lieutenant Orrin Reddy, one of the Hidoiame‘s POWs, is the Acting Lieutenant Commander and COFO for the 3rd Naval Air Wing; he’s also Matt’s favorite cousin. Kuaar-Ran-Taak “Seepy” is his copilot/spotter/wireless-operator. Doc Selass, Keje-Fris-Ar’s daughter and personal physician to the Imperial family, is in charge at the hospital. Sir Humphries is governor for the Enchanted Isles and is still more concerned about his tortoises. First Sergeant Spook, a.k.a., Spon-Ar-Aak, a gunner’s mate aboard Walker, is currently with the A Company in the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines. Major Dao Iverson, 2nd Battalion, 6th Imperial Marines, is Blair’s exec and is trying to come to terms with the ‘Cat alliance AND females in the ranks.

Guayak is…
…a Dominion harbor town. Suares was a trader to la compañia and now speaks for Lord Don Ricardo del Guayak and has news that could help the Alliance.

The Republic of Real People

This country located on the cape of Africa consists of a variety of people who came through from their own worlds — 10th century Romans, Chinese explorers, Ptolemaic Egyptians, WWI Germans, and Africans — in the change during the storms that rage on the cape and were welcomed by the Lemurians. Kapitan Leutenant Becher Lange; Leftenant Doocy Meek; Inquisitor Kon-Choon, a Lemurian and chief intelligence officer to His Most Excellent Highness, the Emperor Nig-Taak, have been sent out with the defecting Lieutenant Toryu Miyata on the SMS Amerika, the German WWI ship that Becher arrived on, to search for allies against the Grik.

New groups…!
A Czech-led troop of 2,000 human and Lemurian riders showed up at the end of Alden’s battle to help. The Amerika has discovered an isolated group of Lemurians on San Diego Garcia.

The Enemy

The Japanese
Lord Regent Consort, Sire of All India, 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, and he forced Regent Tsalka to pay the price for losing Ceylon — all part of his grand plan. He’s more Grik than the Grik! He is working on new weapons and ships on his secret island of Zanzibar 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. Lieutenant of the Sky Iguri is awaiting orders in Bombay.

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

The Grik
Lord General Halik command all Grik forces in India. General Orochi Niwa was a lieutenant aboard the Amagi and works with Halik. Amazingly enough, the two have become friends. First General Esshk is the Grik in charge. The Hatchling Host are a new type of Grik: different, more aggressive, less capable of turning Prey.

The Akichi
The Akichi and Akashi are similar to the Grik and enemies of the Khonashi.

The Dominion
The Dominion is California and Central America where Blood Cardinal Don Hernan DeDevino Dicha escaped back to after his plan failed. His Supreme Holiness, the Messiah of Mexico, and Emperor of the World is in a pretty lousy position to my mind. 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 broken by Fred’s conversion. Lieutenant (jg) Fred Reynolds, the pilot of their airship and Kari’s best friend, has succumbed to the Cleansing. Captain Samuel Anson is a spy for yet another group, Los Diablos del Norte, and has his own reasons for breaking them out. Hopefully those plans are less deadly than the outlaw band with whom they’re running.

The Cover

The cover is a world war on an alternate world with fighter planes diving on destroyers, smoke filling the sky, and gun flashes lighting up the waves. It’s grimy and colorful, and you can almost smell the gunpowder.

The title is the war. It’s a Storm Surge of battle.