Rising Tides kicks off right where Distant Thunders left off, really being Act 2 of this story arc. With several of their people kidnapped, Captain Reddy and his destroyermen must sail Walker into new waters for the rescue. While the Empire seems like a potential ally, having traitors running loose does not make for a good first impression. Given the fact that the Empire was founded by ships from the East India Company at the height of its power, it should come as no surprise how their modern-day “Company” is behaving. Think Pirates of the Caribbean.
What Reddy can’t know, of course, is that the hostages have already rescued themselves. In no small part thanks to Silva. God, I love Silva. And they are now stuck on an island that’s just about as hospitable as anywhere else in this world. This takes us to the part of the story where the author has split the party. In pretty much any grand-scale military sci-fi series, this happens eventually. The war starts to get bigger and Team Protagonist has to split up to fight battles on multiple fronts. It’s now abundantly clear that The Grik are not the only threat in this world and the new enemies will also need to be dealt with.
The action is still a bit toned down here, but not as much as it was in the last book. Some of the action does come from military fighting while the rest is built around natural disasters and the planet’s many super-predators. This all happens on multiple fronts since the characters are scattered around now. Along with the physical danger, getting new factions involved means politics are now playing a bigger role in this war. Not to mention all the implications that the Empire’s existence has for the Lemurian religion and their newfound friendship with Reddy and his crew.
While Reddy and his crew are fully aware that humans can be bastards, this is a new(ish) concept for the Lemurians. Yeah, they’ve already fought against Kurokawa and know he’s helping the Grik. But knowing an enemy is on a ship somewhere is a lot different than talking to the person. Showing that so many other humans can be bastards demonstrates that Kurokawa is not some outlier of normal human behavior.
The events of Rising Tides wrap up a lot of subplots but also open many new doors. This really feels like the turning point where the series goes from being about one ship to being about war. And considering how good these books have been so far, I can’t wait to see where Anderson continues to take his series as it sails into new waters.