Monday, November 10, 2014

AVAILABLE NOW! Crescendo Of Doom

Book XV in the Kirov Series: by John Schettler
Crescendo of Doom

With the fate of Ivan Volkov seemingly within his grasp, Karpov makes a fateful decision concerning the back stairway at Ilanskiy. It will lead him to a titanic duel with his arch rival, and the fate of this strangely altered world now waits on the outcome.

Meanwhile, reinforced and resupplied, Rommel begins his second big offensive, this time aimed at the vital fortress port of Tobruk. With the Germans threatening to break through, General O’Conner launches a counterattack with his newly rebuilt 7th Armored Division, and the Desert Rats again summon their allies from a distant future to the call to arms.

As the battle begins, Admiral Tovey learns that the powerful German battlegroup led by Lutjens on the Hindenburg is again at sea, only this time heading in a most unexpected direction. Now Volsky and Tovey conceive a daring plan that will begin one of the greatest naval chases in history. But Elena Fairchild soon realizes just why her ship has been pulled into the fires of WWII, and is determined to fulfill her charge as Watchstander G1. The revelation she makes casts the shadow of impending doom over the world, and adds an urgent edge to Tovey's quest.

The fires of war rage from the Western Desert to the lonesome wilderness of Siberia, as the action rises to a deafening crescendo of doom on the eve of the greatest military operation ever conceived—Barbarossa.

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 TRADE PAPERBACK: Coming Soon On Createspace

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Just Released: Hammer of GOD

Kirov Saga: Hammer of God

For Die-hard fans of the Kirov Series, your 60 day fast is over! The author has again delivered on schedule and the 14th installment of this remarkable saga is available now on Amazon as an eBook, and Createspace as a Trade Paperback.

     Churchill enters the story with a dramatic visit to the desert oasis of Siwa, and there he meets with the “man from tomorrow” Anton Fedorov. With Rommel retreating to the west, Paulus and Manstein convince Hitler not to abandon his Mediterranean strategy, and strong new reinforcements are assigned. At the same time, the British plan a new offensive to secure the vital Middle Eastern states of Iraq and Syria. But the Germans have plans of their own, falling like  Hammer of God upon a most unexpected place when Kurt Student’s 7th Flieger Division goes into action again.
     Now both sides rush reinforcements to to the growing battle in the Middle East, even as Operation Barbarossa looms like a dark storm on the horizon. The action leads Fedorov to launch a daring new plan to seize a vital hilltop fortress overlooking the ancient  Roman ruins of Palmyra. Surrounded by the troops of the crack 22nd Luftland Air Landing Division, they struggle to hold on while the British drive across the Syrian desert in a race against time and fate.
     Meanwhile, Karpov has plans of his own in 1909, but first he has some personal family business to sort out. He soon realizes that he now has an opportunity to re-write all the history leading up to the outbreak of WWII with a single bullet!
The war moves to the deserts of Syria in this continuation of the Grand Alliance trilogy, book 14 in the amazing Kirov Series.

EBook: $4.99 Amazon Kindle Store

Trade Paperback: $4.99 Createspace Store

Kirov Saga: Hammer of God

5.5" x 8.5"

36 Chapters ~ 325 Pages 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

JUST RELEASED: Grand Alliance

Book 13 in the Kirov Series:

Kirov Saga: Grand Alliance
As Fedorov struggles to forge an alliance of understanding between Brigadier Kinlan and General O’Connor, Rommel prepares to launch an offensive to break the last line of resistance south of Sidi Barani. While the Afrika Korps is overstretched and dangerously low on fuel, it now threatens to break through and open the road to Alexandria--and Wavell has nothing left to throw at them until...

German oasis patrols soon encounter an unexpected mechanized force massing on Rommel’s flank, and the fate of Egypt will now be decided at an insignificant desert outpost called Bir el Khamsa when the great grandsons of the Desert Rats  join their ancestors on the field of honor.

Meanwhile, Volsky, Tovey and Fairchild forge a grand alliance at sea to oppose a powerful Axis fleet. The hubris of Italian General Iachino brings his force  into contact with these powerful new foes as the Franco/German fleet rushes to the scene of battle. And Sergei Kirov receives a visit from Vladimir Karpov as the wily ex-Captain of Kirov seeks to further enmesh himself in the decisive campaigns about to open on the eastern front. But Karpov’s grand vision of alliances he hopes to form will soon lead him to a most unexpected place, where he will again hold the fate of nations in the palm of his hand.

Battle rages on land and sea in this opening volume of the Grand Alliance trilogy, book 13 in the amazing Kirov Series.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

JUST RELEASED! Kirov Saga: Three Kings

Gibraltar has fallen, the first of Three Kings that Hitler must slay if he is to defeat Great Britain, and now the war moves to the Western Desert where the British plan their first counteroffensive of the war in Operation Compass. General Richard O'Connor rises as a champion in this hour of need, but the Germans react by sending a man determined to write his legend in the sands of Libya and Egypt--Erwin Rommel.

Three Kings is the 12th installment in the popular Kirov Series, and the 4th book in the segment of the story which began with Altered States. The battlecruiser Kirov is now trapped in an alternate history of their own making, and the action now moves to the fateful year of 1941 when powerful new forces rally to oppose the looming shadow of the Third Reich.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kirov Saga: Three Kings

Fans of the long Kirov Saga will be pleased to know that the story continues right on schedule come May 15 with the release of Volume 12, entitled Three Kings. The title has several references in this volume, one from a dark warning given by Ivan Volkov in a meeting with Adolf Hitler when the man who has been called ‘the  Prophet’ tells the Führer that, to win the  war, he must slay three kings. The first to fall was seen at the climax of book 11, Hinge of Fate when the Germans launched Operation Felix to storm the vital British fortress at Gibraltar. The second and third kings are Malta and Suez, the three places Fedorov insisted Britain must hold way back in Book 2, when Kirov last visited the Mediterranean, albeit in a different time line from the one now playing out in Altered States. There are other references to the meaning of the title in the story, but they can’t be disclosed here. You’ll soon see for yourself!

The Altered States trilogy that just concluded with the dramatic events presented in Hinge of Fate has covered the last six months of 1940, at a time when Britain’s fate is far from certain, eventually leading us to a major point of divergence in the war with the attack on Gibraltar. Being the fourth book after the resurrection of the saga in the Altered States trilogy, Three Kings is actually what the author calls a “bridge novel” to the next segment of the tale, a trilogy that will take us through the next six months of 1941 beginning with Volume 13, Grand Alliance. These bridge novels tend to be very character centered, as new story lines develop when the main characters react to these events and the ongoing crisis they precipitate.

Three Kings opens right where Hinge of Fate concluded, in the St. Michael’s Cave beneath the Rock of Gibraltar, and presents the final outcome of the German attack, and the sortie by Hindenburg and Bismarck as they break out towards safe ports on the French coast. Karpov also makes an appearance with a devious new plan to take his revenge on Ivan Volkov for his back stabbing betrayal after the Omsk Accords. From there, the author lays out the various plans now blooming in the minds of the War Cabinet and Admiralty, and the Devil’s Adjutant, Ivan Volkov, travels by zeppelin to meet with Hitler in Ploesti. There he warns Hitler of a dangerous man named O’Connor and tells him what he must now do to win the war.

This is a perfect setup, as the book then brings us to the Western Desert, with two prominent historical figures that will now take their moments on the stage of this vast war. Generals Wavell and O’Connor plan a desperate offensive to stave off the Italian advance into Egypt. If you are a fan of the desert war, you’ll love this one, as it is now clear that the Mediterranean and North Africa are to become the principle theater of the war as Germany pursues Admiral Raeder’s long advocated indirect strategy in an effort to defeat Great Britain before confronting Sergei Kirov’s Soviet Russia.

So break out your pith helmets, don your black berets, find those knee length khaki shorts and dust off that jeep you’ve been keeping out back. The drama, action, and color of the great seesaw battles in the Western Desert are dead ahead! This volume will cover all of Operation Compass, the offensive that began as “O’Connor’s Raid” and became much more, and the Führer doesn’t like what happens at all. Volkov warned him that O’Connor was a ‘dangerous man,’ and now he sets his own champion down on those unforgiving desert sands, none other than the legendary Erwin Rommel, out to begin writing that legend as he leads the newly formed German Afrika Korps into the desert. But this will not be your Great Grandfather’s Afrika Korps. The German control of the Western Med opens new strategic possibilities for supplying Rommel, and OKW soon sets crosshairs on the second king at Malta, a job for Kurt Student’s 7th Flieger Division. This will lead to a much stronger German presence in North Africa, posing a grave danger to Britain’s holdings in the Middle East.

With these dramatic war events underway, I will now say that there are going to be some MAJOR surprises in this volume, one that I anticipated, but others I never saw coming, and they will figure prominently in how this tale, and the war, plays out. Fasten your seat belts, because this novel continues with what will probably be the most definitive and authentic alternate history of these events ever presented, and Three Kings closes with a fantastic segment where something happens I simply cannot even begin to hint at.

As alternate histories go, this has to be one of the very best ever done. In the last six months of 1940 covered by the Altered States trilogy, we saw naval duels in the north, and action spawned from British operations aimed at the Vichy French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir and Dakar. When France joined the Axis in outrage against these attacks, it opened up all the strategic possibilities now playing out as the story proceeds. The history itself presents endless possibilities when in the hands of someone who obviously knows and loves it so well.

Schettler’s spin, in moving the modern battlecruiser Kirov to the past, not only sets up all the great naval battles we’ve been treated to in the series, but also presents him with an opportunity to really discuss that history and the ramifications of the changes he now presents. This is done largely through the continued development of Anton Fedorov, the young navigator aboard Kirov who jumped from his post and out the bridge citadel hatch to catch a glimpse of that first Fairy Fulmar that overflew the ship way back in the opening volume of the series.  The Author uses Fedorov to be his voice on the history, analyzing the events and the consequences of the distorted changes now reflected in that cracked mirror, as Fedorov might put it himself. And Fedorov has also set a watch on the history he so loves, trying to find ways of getting it all back on track, which has  spawned any number of exciting spec-ops raids.

We’ve followed him into Siberia, down the stairway at Ilanskiy to meet the young Sergie Kirov, into the Caspian on his hunt for Gennadi Orlov, where we got treated to a full blooded amphibious assault with modern era hovercraft led by the gritty Sergeant Troyak. The German panzer troops got a real surprise in one of my favorite volumes in the series, Fallen Angels, and there’s more actions like that battle coming due to a major event that happens in this volume. As usual, both Fedorov and Orlov have something to do with it, as the author ties all these forays into Siberia by Fedorov and Orlov together into a string of causality that leads us to a truly decisive happening here in Three Kings.

That is what is so great about the story’s intricate plot line--everything matters! What looks to be an errant weed in the devil’s garden when you first encounter it, is actually a clever story seed that returns later to find full bloom in the tale, and several seeds planted earlier begin to sprout here with dramatic new developments.

A perfect example of this was that first journey by Fedorov along the Trans Siberian Rail to look for Orlov in Men Of War… Or did it begin when Orlov decided to jump from that helicopter in Cauldron of Fire? You decide. In any case, what looked to be nothing more than a cameo appearance by the man the ship and series was named after, Sergei Kirov, has since become the entire foundation of these recent volumes that comprise the Altered States trilogy. Things happen, characters are introduced to play their roles and then they exit stage right. But they also get unexpected encores later that become essential to the outcome of the tale. This shows how carefully thought out this long, intricate plot line is, and I’ve loved every moment. I honestly cannot say there is any other series I have read with such tremendous depth, fidelity to the solid marble of the history itself, and such convincing alternate history as this master craftsman sculpts the new face of this war.

The “believability” factor of these novels is top notch, largely due to the fine tuned detail in the story. Most every historical character is a real person, and I’m not just speaking of the Admirals and Generals here. Sometimes the action will be shown through the eyes of a seemingly minor figure, like Lieutenant Dawes in the action at Gibraltar. Three Kings introduces a new minor character in the colorful figure of Vladimir Peniakoff, otherwise known as "Popski" to the British, who later went on to organize and lead the PPA, a long  range raiding and demolition group known as “Popski’s Private Army.” You’ll be pleased to learn that he has a few new recruits off the battlecruiser Kirov, and Troyak and his Marines will have to brush up on their desert chops.

That’s just one thing that makes these novels ring so true. The author also goes to great lengths to cover every aspect of how the historical characters deal with the eventual knowledge that men from their own future history have returned to take up arms in this war. Admiral Tovey and Alan Turing, sleuthing the enigmatic presence of this strange ship they called Geronimo, do not finally learn the real truth of its origins and identity until the volume we have just concluded, Hinge of Fate. It isn’t just a simple treatment of “hi, we’re from the future, have a look at our iPads.” No. The author takes us inside the heads of all the historical figures as they are confronted with the terrible reality of the ship’s presence, and as they slowly weigh and sift the impossible evidence before them, we are slowly convinced with them that this is all real. It is all so skillfully done that there is no need whatsoever for the author to ask me to have a “willing suspension of disbelief.” Brother, I’m a believer, and I can’t wait now for the next volume as the story forges ahead into 1941.

Thankfully, the wait is short, and we will continue to get a new episode of the story every 60 days. Considering that these are full length novels, 36 chapters and all over 300 pages in length, that is no small achievement. And taken as a whole, the Kirov Series stands as a truly outstanding alternate retelling of WWII, with a little science fiction, a dash of time travel, mystery and intrigue, and a full cup of the history itself in loving detail. It simply hasn’t been done any better.

Kirov Series: Three Kings will be available in the kindle story by May 15, and as a quality trade Paperback from CreateSpace.