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Product Details

  • Series: Destroyermen (Book 6)
  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400165040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400165049
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #696,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Email Exchange Between David Weber and Taylor Anderson, author of Firestorm: Destroyermen.

Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson: Hi David! I just now--literally--got back from the WorldCon in Reno. It was fun--and I was also able to personally thank Steve Stirling for the nice blurb he gave my first book. Of course, I am also humbly honored by the very nice blurb you just gave me! If we're not careful, people might begin to suspect we are friends! Of course my meager, good opinion of everything you have written is a matter of record--and espoused at every opportunity!

David Weber: Friends! Friends!? How could anyone possibly suspect such a thing?! But I digress. You're certainly welcome to the cover blurb, since it's only accurate. I mean, us being friends and all I probably would have lied for you if I'd needed to, but what the heck? It's always nicer when you can say nice things because they're accurate. Helps add to your reputation for infallibility, you know.

Anyway, I've got How Firm a Foundation, which is, what--Safehold #4?--coming out in September. You've got one coming out next month, too, as I recall. So you want to tell me what you're going to do to Walker's crew and their friends this time?

Taylor Anderson: I am SOOOOO stoked to read How Firm a Foundation. Most of my reading lately has been old tech manuals, and I need some David Weber! I love how your "Merlin" manages to prod the Safehold tech development along. Artificial being or not, it has to be frustrating to have all that information--that will save lives--running around in his/her head and have to be so careful about revealing it in a logical progression. I'm still improving the "tech" in Firestorm: Destroyermen--which comes out October 4th--but the contrast in how it is applied is fun to compare to the Safehold series.

Your "Merlin" knows…everything, but has to hold back while everyone else accepts what is possible, whereas my Destroyermen know what is possible, but don't necessarily know how, or how best to achieve it. Different frustrations. Your guys have to be a lot more careful! Of course the Grik are still there, with their mad Japanese advisor--but the Grik are starting to "get wise" almost in spite of Kurokawa. He gives them technology, but retains his own agenda. Battle will rage on the land, sea, and in the air!

David Weber

David Weber: Well, as you know, I "snippet" excerpts of the books on my website, so we're several thousand words into How Firm a Foundation, already. That makes things…interesting from my perspective, since the fans can't wait to start suggesting what my characters should be "inventing" next. I haven't even got steam engines past the proscriptions of the Inquisition yet, and some of these guys seem to think I should already be designing King Edward VII-class, pre-dreadnought battleships! I did just give the Charisians breech-loading caplocks, though. That's going to make life interesting for the other side. And Merlin is about to find out (sort of) what I stashed--I'm sorry, what the Archangel Langhorne stashed--under the Temple. It is a bit darker book, though, since the Church gets in a few licks of its own this time around. Your guys have had that experience, too, I think, haven't they?

One thing I'm pondering about is introducing a better propellant than black powder. I'd have to be really careful about that, dealing with the anti-technology proscriptions, but back when Safehold was first settled, the Church did set up the rote preparation and production of fertilizers on a relatively large-scale. It's occurred to me that if I want to introduce nitrocellulose, I might have a platform for that in the fertilizer industry. Or perhaps I should say in the fertilizer pre-industry, since we're not exactly talking about current day DuPont levels of production. What do you think? Practical or would I be stretching things too far?

Taylor Anderson: I haven't done "snippets," but I still get a lot of suggestions and speculation on my web site and through direct contacts. I think it's fun and exciting that so many people are thinking about our books. Some of the suggestions are a little strange--okay, sometimes all I can do is just stare--but Destroyermen is a kind of strange story! The contrast between "They couldn't really do that," and "Why don't they have atomic weapons yet?" from one contact to the next can be amusing though. Things take time, particularly when your characters have to find the things to build the things to build the things they need.

If you're asking my opinion on propellants, I'd have to suggest sticking with black powder for a while. Your caplock breechloaders will be easy to convert, certainly. I'm converting rifle-muskets to a type of "Allin" breechloader myself. But you can actually get better performance out of black powder in such weapons since they weren't designed (or alloyed and treated) for the higher pressures "smokeless" produces. You'd have to make some major leaps in metallurgy to support jacketed bullets as well, and without them, you're stuck with black powder velocities anyway. Besides, your battles are so much more artistic with plenty of fire and smoke!

Of course, then comes logistics! Ha! As you always show so well, getting "new" stuff to the pointy end--and supplying it--is the greatest challenge of all…but then that's pretty fun to write and read about too, isn't it? Wow. I can't wait to be taunted with what you Langhorne stashed! People who know we are friends ask me all the time what "it" is and don't really believe me when I tell them "I don't know!" If I did, I wouldn't rat--and I don't WANT to know until it unfolds on the pages in front of me!

David Weber: I'm inclined to stick with black powder for small arms for quite a while, for a lot of reasons, including the ones you've mentioned. I'm not too sure about how major a jump I'd have to make to support jacketed bullets--the Safehold-ian tech structure doesn't match up perfectly with any particular, in Earth's history, thanks to all of the "technologies without the science" tucked away in the Holy Writ. That means it wouldn't be beyond the reach of allowable technologies (and Safehold-current techniques) to form copper jackets and then compress the lead into them. I'm inclined to agree with you about the conversion process, and I'm also inclined to think that converting the smokeless powders would also require a drop in caliber, if I want to take advantage of the higher velocities flatter trajectories without beating my poor riflemen to death!

I was looking at improved propellants more from the perspective of naval gunnery, field artillery, and shell-fillers (I know, I know--not a "propellant". So sue me!) and that sort of thing. Can't have really long-range gunnery without predictable propellant burn times, and I don't think I can get that kind of quality control out of black powder. At the same time, I have to be thinking in terms of reasonably attainable technologies. And you'd better believe I plan on putting my head together with yours when I actually start converting to cartridges and repeaters!

Of course, my life is even more interesting in the next couple of months than yours is, because I [he said, blushing modestly and looking down at his toes] have a new book coming out in October, as well! I finally got around to writing that young adult novel I've wanted to write for so long for Baen's publishing, A Beautiful Friendship, next month. Trust me; it's a very different change of pace from the Safehold books!

Taylor Anderson: Oh I know about A Beautiful Friendship, you prolific devil. I've already pre-ordered it too. You're right of course. No real reason why better steels would be proscribed I guess. That's what I meant about jacketed bullets, by the way. Not the bullets themselves, but the barrels that will have to survive them--especially if you increase your rate of fire dramatically! Hehe. Once you eliminate that gas-gushing vent in a muzzle-loader, black powder is amazingly consistent in cartridges--but you still need a whopping heavy (and abusive) bullet to carry your energy along. Flat shooters they ain't.

It's no secret that "my" Destroyermen have been working on guncotton and other things. They have the recipe--from that same, valuable little manual we both have!--but the recipe needs a little adjustment when you're not sure what to use for cotton, for example!

Experimentation can be exciting, and a lot of the fun is letting the characters come up with their own angles. Like I've said, as capable as my Destroyermen are, there are a lot of things they don't know how to do, and they often come up with weird, "wrong," but adequate procedures. Also, with their fascination for gizmos, the Lemurians are beginning to come up with some slap your forehead notions and applications that might never have occurred to humans--which begs the question: why did they occur to me?

I'm all for juicing up naval artillery--or any artillery at all, as you know--but at sea, particularly, greater range is wasted without some advanced means of fire control. Even rifling won't help much. It's all in the timing, if you know what I mean. Oh, I've got the perfect repeater for you! I can't--actually won't use it--for the same reason I won't use another conversion we discussed, and I would love to see you use (hint). They just wouldn't make sense for my guys and their different starting point. For YOU however…they might even pass the proscriptions!

David Weber: Oh, yeah. I just finished, like a week or so ago, posting somewhere around a 5,000-word dissertation on the requirements for long-range naval gunnery on the Safehold forum on my website, because some of my readers were wondering how soon the Imperial Charisian Navy is going to go to long-range gunnery, by which some of them seemed to be thinking 20,000 or 30,000 yards. I had to explain that without centralized fire control to make sure all guns fired at exactly the right moment and on the right bearing, without inclinometers to be sure they fired at the right point in the ship's roll, without the ability to predict target movement, without accurate range-finding, and--especially--without predictable and repeatable propellant burn times (not to mention monitoring board erosion, temperature, humidity, propellant temperature, etc.), accurate naval gunnery at anything much over 6,000 yards is going to be problematical at best. I think that sort of "taking things for granted" is part of the price we pay for living at the "user end" of a technological world in the first place, but it starts coming home to you when you do the kind of thing you and I are doing in our books which is trying to build a technological infrastructure from scratch and figuring out how the wheel was invented in the first place!

Although, you know, thinking about it, what we're both doing in our different ways that's even more significant than the technology, I think, is looking at the values of the fictitious societies we've created. When you come down to it, technology is just tools -- it's what people do with those tools that distinguishes them from one another. Dark Age mentalities can do terrifying amounts of damage with modern technology. God knows we've seen enough of that in recent years, haven't we? I first came up with the concept for the Safehold books something like twenty years ago, and I've been mostly faithful to that original concept, but I can't pretend it hasn't been modified by things that have happened in the real world since. I actually make an effort to avoid having that happen, but I don't think any author can do that, really. After all, we live in the real world! But what my heroes are doing on Safehold and what your Destroyermen and their allies are doing on your alternate Earth is trying to push back the darkness, and I think that's the real reason a lot of their fans want to know what happens next in both universes. I know I sure do, at any rate!

Taylor Anderson: Ha! Few things could be more difficult to comprehend than all the variables that prevent accurate long range naval gunnery. Just figuring out all those variables is hard enough, and then compensating for them all presents an incredibly daunting challenge. The first "modern" computers, in all their complexity, were devoted to just that. Powered torpedoes add even more wild variables. I'll have to read your post to see how you managed to explain it all in a mere 5,000 words! I imagine that if anyone could do it, it would be you!

Ultimately however, I couldn't agree with you more; the people are the story. The technology is fun to research, bend to our specific applications, write about, and kick around with each other, but our characters--defined by their character--drive the stories. The "Safehold" and the people who inhabit it, that Nimue Alban's…memories…awoke to was every bit as alien as the world Matt Reddy and his crew of USS Walker encounter in Destroyermen. Both worlds are as remote as they can possibly be to what they knew before, and full of unfamiliar threats and challenges. It is how they--and those around them--deal with their apparently insurmountable obstacles that form the "souls" of each story. Both have a vision for how best to protect and secure the people--and worlds--they have inherited, and both are determined to accomplish their task regardless of the cost, particularly to themselves. In this day and age, it may seem quaint to some that people might be so determined to "do the right thing, as they see it, when nobody is looking," in a sense. But I believe that quality is still admired, and is, I hope, the most resonant chord we have struck with both our tales.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“I cannot recommend Taylor Anderson too highly.”—David Weber, author of Out of the Dark

“Taylor Anderson has brought a fresh new perspective to the tale of crosstime shipwreck.”—S.M. Stirling, author of The Lord of Mountains

“Taylor Anderson and his patched-up four-stackers have steamed to the forefront of alternative history. All aboard for a cracking great read!”—E. E. Knight, author of March in Country
 
“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.”—Alternative Worlds
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Taylor Anderson is a gun-maker and forensic ballistic archeologist who has been a technical and dialogue consultant for movies and documentaries. He has a Master's Degree in History and teaches at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert Thorbury on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I first noticed the original three books in Taylor Anderson's "Destroyermen" series at the local bookstore, and was greatly intrigued by the cover art. I liked the basic premise: in 1942, an aging WWI-era naval destroyer named the USS Walker gets pulled into an alternate universe by a freakish electrical storm somewhere near modern-day Indonesia. Suddenly, a ship-full of memorable characters, totally bewildered, encounter somewhat familiar seas and islands populated by bizarre, often malevolent, sometimes very intelligent creatures.

To survive, the protagonists have to become very resourceful -- quickly -- and make friends with the native Lemurians (nicknamed the 'Cats), who are mammalian but definitely not human. The major threat to their collective existence consists of Japanese also caught in the storm, who have allied themselves with insane velociraptor-type creatures called the Grik.

OK, I was hooked. Fast forward to Book Six of the series, "Firestorm", and I'm still hooked. It's becoming an expensive habit, buying these things straightaway in hardcover because I can't bear the thought of waiting another year for the paperback edition.

By now, the world of the Destroyermen has become very complex indeed. "Firestorm" came out much sooner than I'd expected, or I would have re-read the previous five volumes to prepare myself. The cast of characters has become so large, I'm having trouble keeping track of them all. Still, I plunged into the story with gusto. By the time I got halfway through the book, it was all coming back to me.

You definitely will want to read those earlier volumes before you start in on this one.

There are several different interwoven storylines picking up from Book Five, "Rising Tides".
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been following this series since it was out, and I have to say, it's been interesting watching this author's writing mature over the passage of the series. If you are buying this book im going to assume that you probably have read the 1st few books already soooo....
The positives:

-Lots of action and battling (realistic as well...no inconsistencies that I can come up with)
-No plot holes or inconsistencies that I know of...(things like stormtrooper accuracy or dues ex machinas)
-interesting plot twists and elements keeps the story engaging
-not a dictionary. Some authors (ahem david weber) can get books to some 800 pages. This one is a good length I think.
-the world is rich with potential storylines and possible plots, much like Eric Flint's 1632 series i would think.
-no super long political meetings (thankfully)
-makes for an enjoyable read overall
-Dennis. Freaking. Silva. that is all.
-if you liked the previous ones, you will definitely like this one.

negatives:
-The character development is kinda shallow compared to other series i think. I can pretty much label a character and that character will stay true to that label...well forever. So predictable in some ways which detracts from the book a bit.
-The enemies are just that, the bad guys. They have no redeeming qualities, just like the heroes have no real negative qualities (with one exception). Basically, it makes them somewhat boring as a species. (however, this author seems to be working on this)
-there are some points where i felt the author cut off way prematurely, where the situation could have been more explored in depth or actually depicted.
-As the story grows larger, the characters that hooked me are getting less and less screen time.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Charles F. Kartman on January 19, 2012
Format: Audible Audio Edition Verified Purchase
I loved the Destroyermen series when it began. The premise was fun, and the relatively unique perspective of the titular destroyermen was refreshing. Series, however, tend eventually to run out of steam. In the case of the Destroyermen, the effort to follow the various characters, races, and factions has gotten to be too much. There is no longer a single, gripping story to focus on; now, there are multiple strands that weave in and out, making it next to impossible to keep one's eyes on the goal, if there is one. And the magic of describing those wonderful old fighting ships has been lost in the shuffle. Sorry to see it happen.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mvargus on November 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the biggest complaints against George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones or Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time is that eventually the story appeared to get away from the writers, and descended into a bunch of small cut scenes. The plots which had been moving quickly stopped developing.

In Taylor Anderson's sixth book in this now epic series some of the same flaws are starting to appear. The ones simple war of the survivors from the USS Walker and their Lemurian allies against the Grik centered near Borneo and Ceylon is now a war across the entire Pacific with the main characters allied with an empire derived from some survivors of a East India Company convoy from the 1700s based in Hawaii and fighting on 2 fronts, both against the Grik and a new human empire based in Mexico that practicies a perverse fusion of Aztec and Christian religious rites.

Add in a modern Japanese Destroyer that shows up, but after one attack on an allied Lemurian city vanishes into the Pacific and a Grik deligation sent to South Africa to try to ally with a new "prey", and the story has more threads than some spider webs.

The number of characters being followed and given focal chapters also keeps increasing as Taylor tries to keep readers up on events on both fronts, and in all the capital and critical cities of the alliance.

Add in Grik blimps flying at 15,000 feet (I'm assuming that the elevation is a typo or a character making an error as at that height the air temperature would be far too cold to allow a blimp to fly) and the Dominion having trained pteryldactyls that are capable of keeping up with and taking down a seaplane and the story threatens to spin out of control.

It doesn't in this chapter and is still a very enjoyable read, but the signs are there.
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