Another (Destroyermen, 9) of Anderson’s World War II alternate-history yarns (Storm Surge, 2013, etc.).
Over the centuries, various groups of humans—invariably warriors, so how come there are so many women?—have arrived on an alternate Earth already inhabited by two intelligent races, the dinosaurian Grik and the catlike Lemurians. Among the immigrants are descendants of conquistadores, who formed a powerful, belligerent and bloodthirsty empire called the Holy Dominion; WWI Germans; a Czech battalion from the Russian Revolution; offshoots of a somewhat different British Empire; and mysterious skin-wearing, stone tool–equipped warriors with English accents—as well as Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Reddy, commander of the old destroyer USS Walker, and his battle group, together with various Japanese navy vessels from the same era. And the latest influx—French Nazis in a gigantic submarine, intent on sinking U.S. ships—clearly derives from an even stranger reality. A Grand Alliance has formed to battle the insensate Grik. Flushed with previous successes, Alliance Chairman Adar, a Lemurian, intends a raid on Grik-occupied Madagascar, the revered homeland of his species. Reddy is reluctant to interfere with Adar’s plans even though he suspects he’s making a mistake. So it proves: The raid escalates into a full-scale battle, for which Reddy’s battered forces are unprepared. What might have been a wholly grim saga is lightened by the antics of chief gunner’s mate Dennis Silva and his cohort. But there’s a great deal of sophomoric banter to wade through before the anticipated grand battle. Anderson gives us little idea of how or why these disparate folk all ended up on this particular version of Earth, although with so many races and technologies from different worlds and epochs, it’s starting to get uncomfortably overcrowded—and the characters more anonymous.
An about-average addition to the series.