War story turns into fantasy

     The descriptions of sea battles in the beginning of Taylor Anderson’s book “Into the Storm” are strong. Anderson could have kept going in the same vein and created an action-packed novel of the early days of World War II when the reeling U.S. Navy fought the triumphant Japanese after the Pearl Harbor attack.
      But that’s not what Anderson had in mind in his new fantasy novel, which is the first of a trilogy in the “Destroyermen” series.
     The book opens with two dilapidated U.S. destroyers fighting a rear guard action against the powerful Japanese Navy. Intrepid destroyer captain Matthew Reddy mounts a suicide run against a Japanese cruiser and other warships. Anderson, a history teacher and military historian, creates an atmosphere of fear and desperation as the out-gunned Americans attack the Japanese squadron.
     The book changes course when the two destroyers escape destruction by entering an eerie storm. The destroyers emerge on an alternate Earth where the dinosaurs never became extinct. The geography is the same, but the fauna and flora are vastly different. So is the mood of the book as it changes from a war novel into a fantasy. The Navy crews discover that two species, reptilians and catlike lemurs, are competing on this version of Earth for supremacy. The reptilian species (of course) is the evil one with no compassion and a drive to exterminate the lemurs.
    OK, the plot is a little predictable, but Anderson is inventive and comes up with surprises. The Navy befriends the lemurs and uses its firepower to help them survive. The lemur elders have ancient writings that tell of others from our Earth who have made the transition to the dinosaur Earth. The author hints at other mysteries on the alternate Earth, and more showdowns with the reptiles, which will be revealed in the final two books.

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