Season 3, Book 3, Series book 19
Just in time for the long 4th of July weekend, and out early for the faithful crew that has followed this story from book 1, Winter Storm takes us into the dramatic military events of late 1941. KINDLE EDITION
This volume packed with heavy wartime action and the drama of Fedorov’s facedown with the Siberian. One look at the cover makes that quite apparent. Ever since Paradox Hour and the third season opener Doppelganger took us through the mind boggling mysteries of the time travel elements of the story, it has been cat and mouse on the ship, as the author used most of volume 2, Nemesis, to present the story of Karpov’s devious plot to gain control of Kirov. Fedorov is beset by both Karpovs in that last volume, and looking for allies. He finally convinces Volsky, but too late to stop Karpov’s plot. Now, he lays low aboard the ship, hoping to slowly gather support.
This third volume opens exactly where Nemesis left off, with Grilikov nose to nose with the implacable Sergeant Troyak in the helo bay. Once again, it was Orlov’s wayward ways that set up that confrontation, blustering into the helo bay and thinking he could now even bully the Marines. Yet the Siberian Karpov is older, more cunning, and wiser after having been through the fire, and he handles the situation on the ship in a way you may not expect. Over the first 9 chapters we get a resolution of the long simmering potential conflict between Fedorov and the ship’s new Siberian master, and while necessary to the developing plot, this is not the central action of this volume.
Winter Storm quickly moves into the history of the crucial battles of late 1941, and it is loaded with combat. Beginning with Part IV, aptly entitled “The Rising Storm,” the narrative returns to the war with the next 12 chapters taking us back to the Russian front, where the historical characters of Guderian, Model, and the other German generals face down the Red Army. Operation Typhoon is presented in great detail, and yes, we finally get the arrival of the Big Cats on the field of battle, and the showdown between Kurt Knispel and Dmitri Lavrinenko takes place in an action filled three chapter duel at a place called Malakhovo, north of Tula on the road to Serpukhov. This segment concludes with “Black Snow,” where a surprising plot twist occurs that introduces more drama into the crisis of the battle of Moscow, but this is something that cannot be discussed here. Suffice it to say, these 12 chapters at the heart of Winter Storm have the author bringing us into the war in the east as never before. But we’re just getting started!
After a relatively quiet summer, except for the disastrous retreat of the Red Army, the last quarter of 1941 saw little action in other theaters. But at Churchill’s urging, late in the year the British tee up an operation against Rommel. So we get another classic battle segment here in this novel, as Operation Crusader is launched in October of this altered history timeline The Desert Fox has been sitting on his Gazala Line defenses, licking his wounds and watching one unit after another being taken from his Afrika Korps. The November 41 British operation was originally launched from the Egyptian-Libyan border with the aim of relieving Tobruk, but in this altered history, the stunning counterattack by Kinlan’s Heavy Brigade put an end to that threat back in Crescendo of Doom. So this time the British intend to try and push Rommel off his Gazala Line defenses and see if they can retake Cyrenaica, but both sides are in for surprises.
Just before Crusader gets started, we get treated to an engaging three chapter session between Hitler and the man the world came to call the Prophet, Ivan Volkov. Flying to Wolf’s lair, Volkov is trying to shock Hitler with the urgency of these critical engagements in late 1941, and also has a hidden agenda of his own which sets up even more action later. Far from being shunted aside on Tunguska, the younger Karpov will soon get his chance to prove his worth, as Volkov is again up to no good while the Siberian is away on his sojourn to the Pacific.
And then we finally come to the last spasm of war at the end of 1941, like the fireworks display that ends the show every fourth. This is, of course, Japan’s Operation Z plan to attack Pearl Harbor, and Winter Storm concludes with the dramatic events taking us to December 7th in an extended segment most aptly entitled “Climb Mount Niitaka.” Here we learn what the Japanese Navy now looks like, not untouched by the interventions of 1908, which led them to make some interesting changes to their order of battle. And then that navy sets sail, even as the Siberian Karpov struggles through the ice to try and reach the scene of battle in time.
The loving detail in all these scenes depicting the altered history of the war tell us where season three is now taking us, for the next volume in the series, Tide Of Fortune will lead us boldly into 1942. If this book sets the template for what is to come, then batten down the hatches, as the author is promising to take us right on through the war, covering all the major battles WWII buffs will know and love, on land, at sea, and in the skies. In Winter Storm we see also the first effects of new war fighting technology entering the story. Germany has the Big Cats now prowling the field in selected units, and even Rommel gets a few of the new PzKfw-55L Lions to augment his Afrika Korps, when Hitler sends him a newly structured 10th Panzer Division early. The Germans also get another toy in this volume, while the British lay their own plans at how they can get new war winners into production based on the amazing power they have in hand with Kinlan’s Brigade.
These new tanks, weapons, and other tech are all arriving early, which, along with all the new ships at sea, will all be part of the excitement as the war unfolds. Fledgling missiles and jet fighters are already on the drawing boards, and the impact of this advanced tech will play out in the volumes ahead. In the meantime, while it has some great character based scenes on the ship itself, and involving Hitler, Volkov and Sergei Kirov, more than half of this volume is dedicated to covering the dramatic and critical battles at the end of 1941. And from what I am told, there’s a lot more to come in Tide of Fortune.
Jump on the action with Winter Storm available now, with the e-book out early this month of barbecues, fireworks… and some good beer. Enjoy this one, which will not fail to deliver everything you’ve come to expect from this series.
The Trade Paperback will be available from the CreateSpace link on the writingshop web site, on or before 7/15/15