Alright, so Maelstrom picks up right where Crusade left off. Captain Reddy and co. know the Grik are coming for them with a massive invasion force and only have so much time to prepare. What’s more, the enemy fleet is backed by the Japanese ship Amagi. For those keeping score, the Amagi is a battlecruiser while the Walker is a destroyer. In laymen’s terms, the Walker is severely outgunned. The Amagi is another ship that did really exist with Taylor Anderson changing its history for his story. The real-world Amagi was damaged by an earthquake while under construction and scrapped. The sole surviving ship of its class, the Akagi, wasn’t even completed to the original designs; the Washington Naval Treaty forced it to be converted into an aircraft carrier mid-construction.
Anyway, back to the book. A lot of the last book involved Reddy and his crew getting their new Lemurian friends ready to fight. That still happens a bit in the beginning here, but the meat of Maelstrom is the subsequent massive battle. So, on one side we have the Lemurians and humans. They have superior weapons, training and tactics. The other side is the Grik. What they lack in quality they make up for in quantity and mindless brutality. Plus, the Amagi as their trump card.
It’s kind of hard (for me, at least) to sum up all the military action in a book like this without really going in-depth. I will say that it is top-notch. The two sides fighting are very different from each other in terms of personality, motivation, tactics and technological prowess, and it all shows. It reminds me a bit of early WWI history where some of the leaps in military technology were so massive and different that entire armies basically had to relearn how to fight. Remember kids, there’s a reason trench warfare suddenly became a thing.
The other main thing here is the set-up. While the big battle is the key focus in Maelstrom, the subplots continue. Including some new ones that will keep the series moving forward. Going in, we and the characters all know that this battle could break the Lemurians. But if they win, it’s not the end. It’s just the beginning. They’ve spent the whole series on defense so far. It’s still a long road ahead to take the fight to the Grik. Plus a few other things I won’t mention in detail here because spoilers.
And as a final side note, I think one of the reasons I’m loving this series is that it’s basically a space opera and I’m a sucker for those. Seriously, change the Walker into a spaceship, the Squall into a wormhole, and the Grik and Lemurians into aliens and we’re there. The only real difference is the setting being The Land That Time Forgot instead of Farscape.