Pass of Fire

Ace: Berkley. (Destroyermen, Bk. 14). Jun. 2019. 480p. ISBN 9780399587535. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780399587542. SF
Anderson’s “Destroymen” series is a skillful variation on the alternate-Earth theme. A 1941 destroyer, fleeing a Japanese force, enters a storm and finds itself in a world with dinosaurs, catlike Lemurians, raptorlike Grik, and several other intelligent species. By this time (Book 14), the Lemurian war against the vicious Grik has become worldwide, and other human and nonhuman civilizations have piled in on both sides. The venerable USS Walker and its multiracial crew still soldier on, and a nascent industrial base reimagines World War II armies’ weapons to keep her afloat. Threads of multiple campaigns cover struggles in Africa, Madagascar, and South America, with glimpses of rising opponents of several grisly stripes. Ferocious battle scenes see confusion, risks, exhaustion, victory, and loss interwoven. Interactions of human and nonhuman leaders are well handled.
VERDICT Libraries that do not have the entire series will be at a disadvantage, and new readers will have some catching up to do, but military sf enthusiasts, particularly fans of author Harry Turtledove, will be enthralled.

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