Monday, August 3, 2020


The Great Dragon Rises...

The fifth volume of the war in 2025-2026 is out, and with an announcement that is sure to please Kirov Series fans!

Originally scheduled to wind up at Volume 56, the author now says he will need all those volumes to finish the war in 2026. At that time, the series is set to transition into the final confrontation between Kirov and crew, and Ivan Volkov, Karpov's long time nemesis since the early days of WWII. We were already clued in on the plan being hatched by Fedorov and Karpov, to navigate north to the Sea of Okhotsk so they can pay a visit to Tyrenkov in Siberia and put together a significant military force that they can then try to move to the past using the device that Director Kamenski so graciously left on the ship. In Far Horizon, we've seen it at work, saving the ship on more than one occasion with a timely backward step when they found themselves in the dangerous waters of the future. Yet not wanting to miss out on his first love, (war), Karpov decides to operate with the USN as they make their way north.

In this volume, Firedrake, we'll learn much more of what Volkov and his doppelganger have been up to, as John devotes nine consecutive chapters to that to conclude this volume, all written from the perspective of the ship and crew. The good news now is that the struggle between Karpov and Volkov may become a war, and so the entire 8th season is now being scheduled to deal with that climactic confrontation, and the series has license to continue through book 64. Hallelulia!

Here's what's brewing now as the war rolls into the Sulu and South China Seas in 2026...

Kirov Saga: Firedrake, Kindle Version $4.99, Trade Paperback: $19.99

As this volume opens, the war that erupted in November of 2025 is now 100 days old, and Part I presents a brief recap of the action seen to date, setting the stage to continue operations in the Sulu Sea. There the US Carrier Strike Group Washington has been struggling to control that sea and support Marine ARG’s reinforcing Puerto Princesa on the long barrier island of Palawan.

Before that action goes full bore, the narrative diverts to Iraq in Part III entitled “Baghdad Blues,” where we again ride with Sergeant King and company, (1/7th Recon), as they are tasked with leading an operation into the sprawling concrete jungle of Sadr City. CIA operative Colonel Jason Dunn rides along and calls the tune on objectives. He obviously wants to pay a visit to the Iraqi Defense Intelligence compound, but then throws Sergeant King a curve with orders to get him to the National Museum of Iraq. Dunn is obviously on a treasure hunt of some kind, and we get some clues as to what it might be about as the light recon troops fight their way towards downtown Baghdad. Unfortunately, the museum is on the other side of the river, and what started as a sweep of Sadr City becomes a major push into the heart of the teeming city, where chaos reigns as the Iraqi military is trying to escape to better climes. This three chapter segment gives us some resolution on the war in Iraq, as US and coalition forces close on the city from all directions to complete their mission.

Then Part IV takes us back to the Sulu Sea, and the naval air action that has been the heart of this season. China’s Admiral Zheng Bao has assumed command of the South Seas Fleet, and we are taken deeper into his plans and strategies as he now confronts not one, but three US Carrier Strike Groups. Relentless and methodical, the USN begins a campaign of reducing the outlying Chinese bases in Borneo and on the reef island bases that are so controversial today as potential flash points between the USN and PLAN. In these scenes, we go deeper into the command structure that prevails in the Chinese Navy, not a triangular system like the USN with the Captain at the top, and his XO and Command Master Chief on the two corners below, but a square, where every fleet, division, squadron and ship has a Party Political Officer (or Commissar) installed with co-equal authority to that of the Admiral or Captain.

From the height of Naval HQs at PACOM in Pearl Harbor and the Chinese Naval Theater Command in Hong Kong, we stand like a junior officer at the back of the room, privy to all discussions, strategy decisions, and the rationale behind orders issued to the respective fleets. Driven from the Indian Ocean back into their home waters, China is now desperate for the victory that Admiral Wu Jinlong was unable to deliver, and here the new Admiral Zheng Bao fights with quiet efficient skill, in spite of his irascible associate, the  fiery Admiral Sun Wei.

As the action unfolds we see two entirely different methods of warfighting, largely resting on the structure of the navies both sides built before the war, and the weapons they carry. China has excellent new destroyers, but lacks real strength in its carrier arm, because its 4th Generation J-15 strike fighter is simply too vulnerable in contested airspace. This forces Zheng Bao to use his carriers in defensive roles as he struggles to preserve the valuable reef island bases, and hold the Palawan barrier intact, while looking for any opportunity he can find to put harm on his enemy. The more restricted waters here make it more difficult for the US carriers to abide by “Standing Order-1,” the dictum that they must never operate inside the 300 mile range marker, because doing so brings China’s deadly YJ-18 Strike Eagle missiles into play, doubling their fleet’s offensive power.

By contrast, the power of the USN clearly resides in the tremendous versatility of its Carrier Strike Groups. The long arm of the US Tomahawk missile is used to reduce enemy bases, and the carrier air wings have no equal in the world when it comes to the dizzying array of weapons they can put on an enemy target. Before the war, would-be pundits proclaimed the USN was woefully outranged by the Chinese Navy, pointing out the much longer ranges of the YJ-18 and YJ-100 strike missiles compared to America’s largely obsolete Cold War era missile, the Harpoon. Yet in this history, the Harpoon isn’t even deployed, and the USN fights with weapons that are now being rushed into development in our world, like the LRASM which is slated for deployment on the destroyers, and the modified maritime Tomahawk, also called the “Multi Mission Tomahawk,” which has a range of 1500 nautical miles, almost four times longer than China’s YJ-100’s 400 mile range.

Authors of those articles inveigh on the fact that China’s destroyers completely outrange those of the USN while forgetting that these weapons are in the pipeline and coming soon as the USN rediscovers the art of surface warfare. The so called experts also forget that, despite all the recent talk about “Distributed Lethality,” the Navy doesn’t fight wars with its destroyers in one, twos, and threes. In war, a US destroyer will never be far from a big deck fleet carrier, and that strike group is how America fights to win at sea. Of course, China knows that, which is why they have designed an array of hypersonic ballistic missiles capable of targeting ships at sea. Thus far the US missile shield has held firm, but as the war comes close to mainland China, the PLAN fights with renewed energy and strength, like the great Firedrake its is now rapidly becoming in our world.

The heart of this novel is therefore the intensifying struggle for the Sulu and South China Seas, 18 consecutive chapters that pit the wily new Chinese Admiral Zheng Bao against the three US carrier Captains and Admiral Cook. The Chinese Fire Dragon is putting up a furious defense, realizing that the stakes now are extremely high, and that they simply must find a way to stop the relentless advance of the US Navy. In the midst of it all, Karpov, Fedorov and company take a prominent role, as they push for the Palawan Gap. Kirov and Kazan must get through if they are to get back to the Pacific and head north as planned, but along the way, they encounter a derelict ship that suddenly sends the story off in a most unexpected direction.

Long time series readers know that the real meat and potatoes of the saga has always been about Kirov’s movement in time, taking the ship and crew across far horizons and into troubled and dangerous waters at every turn. This season, the temporal instability of Kirov has already taken us on one ride to a distant, bleak, and perilous future in the last volume. This evolution is something quite more.

The author devotes the last nine chapters of this volume to the ship and crew of Kirov as they face another bewildering series of events after the discovery of the derelict, and finally realize what they are now facing. Behind it all, both Fedorov and Karpov can sense, feel, and finally know that the shadow that seems to darken their path is being cast by their arch nemesis—Ivan Volkov. It is a segment very much like the chapters presented in the 2021 war, where Kirov and crew got a glimpse of the war just getting started in 2025, but on the Meridian they helped build with their interventions in WWII. Now, in this volume, the machinations of Ivan Volkov take a frightening new shape.

Loaded with naval air action at its heart, and twisted with mystery at the end, Firedrake’s pounding narrative leads us into the most decisive battles of the war in 2026. It will be followed with equal vengeance and furor in the next volume, Alpha Strike, as the USN and PLAN clash like two armored gladiators in the arena of the South China Sea. The author plans to take the war in 2026 to its conclusion by the end of this season in volume 56, but in this book, those last nine chapters give is a riveting preview of what will follow this season—the war against Ivan Volkov that will take the long saga to its final tumultuous and fiery end. In the meantime, hang on to your seats!

Kirov Saga: Firedrake, Kindle Version $4.99, Trade Paperback: $19.99

Monday, June 15, 2020

Kirov Sails to a Far Horizon

Kirov and crew have slipped over some far horizon to a distant future that seems devoid of life, except for persistent stalking enemies on every compass heading. In a strange day of tension and battle, the seas once believed to be safe waters have become a web of danger and a private hell. With their sister ship Kursk destroyed, they now set their course for Christmas Island, preparing a shore party to determine why the world around them has gone dark, and where they might be in time. They will not get far before the alarms will sound again, and Kirov and Kazan are soon in a struggle for their lives.  
  In their wake, the war in 2026 continues as Admiral Sun Wei runs the Strait of Malacca to try and rejoin the fleet in the South China Sea. In the Indian Ocean theater, CSG Roosevelt leads a coalition task force into the Gulf of Oman. The mission now is to force the Strait of Hormuz and open the Persian Gulf to Allied shipping. To do so they will have to face the ‘Muster of Allah,’ as Iran vows to destroy the US Navy.
Kirov Saga:

Far Horizon

John Schettler

Part I – Spooky
Part II – Mama Bear
Part III – Desperate Measures
Part IV – Guardians at the Gate
Part V – The Fire
Part VI – Strait of Malacca
Part VII – East Wind
Part VIII– Jaws of the Beast
Part IX – The Muster of Allah
Part X – Flight of the Goeben
Part XI – The Wolves
Part XII – Vendetta

Kirov Series: Far Horizon
36 Chapters, 312 Pages, about 101,000 words
Kindle version:$4.99 – Available June 15, 2020
Quality Trade Paperback: $19.99 (Available soon)

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Able Fire

The West Goes on the Attack!

The Kirov Series continues the Next War into 2026 and beyond, as the Coalition launches Operation Able Fire, the invasion of Iraq. Available now as of 4/45/2020.

The war in 2026 now get into high gear with the invasion of Iraq, but at the outset of this volume, Karpov and Fedorov try to sort out their problems with missing men, and determine what to do. Fedorov suspects the ship is becoming unstable, and tells Karpov why, revealing a deep fear he has harbored for some time. The story then takes us back to the travails of Admiral Wu Jinlong, as he continues his battle in the Celebes Sea. His Operation Sea Eagle is confronted by the Enterprise CSG and Kirov, where Admiral Wu Jinlong learns some very hard lessons on the strengths and weaknesses of his ships.

Now the Western Coalition launches their invasion of Iraq from the west, and we will ride through it all at the tactical level with a Light Troop of 1/7th Cav Recon Squadron, (1st Armored Cav Division). In a fast paced series of maneuvers, the action is reminiscent of Generation Kill, when a reporter, Todd Resel is attached to Sergeant King’s Light Troop for the ride. Through their eyes, we are led east across the deserts to the battle for the gaps, first in the north at Ramadi where the Coalition must kick open the door to take Highway 1 to Baghdad.

At the same time, a European column advances further south towards Karbala, as the Coalition forces move to encircle Baghdad. While the capital will be defended, Qusay Hussein has a different strategy in mind for the overall war, intending to hold as much of the country as possible. In the midst of this action, a CIA Paramilitary operative arrives and gets attached to the Light Troops, which will later lead us into a daring missing in Baghdad,

The action then shifts south to recount the push into Iraq by 1st USMC Division, with a provisional division composed of 1st Infantry and 3 BCT of 1st Armored Cav on their right. Now the war that began as a mission to liberate Saudi Arabia and Kuwait becomes a grab for the vital oil resources of Southern Iraq. Seeing their position in the Middle East in danger of collapse, China makes a bold decision to send its 13th and 21st Armies by rail through Central Asia and Iran, to the border of Iraq.
Then the action returns to naval warfare again, this time revisiting Admiral Sun Wei in the Gulf of Oman, who is still struggling to grapple with Captain Holmes on the USS Independence. His stubborn campaign there is soon shaken by news from the east, and the Chinese General Staff concocts a new plan for his fleet, with startling new orders. The battle with Independence is far from over as the US maneuvers to frustrate this plan.

Then we again return to Kirov, but not before a three chapter look at what Ivan Volkov has been up to aboard Tunguska, and it is no small matter! His quest for vengeance takes him to a most fateful place, with repercussions that could unwind threads on the tightly stretched rope of the Prime Meridian. The plan he sets in motion is earth shaking, and sets up what happens as this volume concludes. As the author often does when he approaches the mid- point in any of the 8 volume seasons, get ready for a most unexpected and amazing twist as this book ends, when safe waters suddenly become very dangerous for Karpov and crew.

Action on land, sea, and air as the West begins to go on the offensive in the war in the Invasion of Iraq.


In case you missed them: Volumes 1 and 2 of the war in 2025 and beyond...


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Tangent Fire

WWIII Explodes in the Med

About Tangent Fire:

   Volume VIII in the Next War segment of the Kirov Series sees the war in 2021 end in a nuclear nightmare, but Kirov, with Tyrenkov aboard, has escaped to the future they helped to shape in 2025. Now all the principal players in the story begin to arrive, Kirov, Kazan, and Argos Fire coming forward from 1945.
   Karpov, the Siberian, begins his operation to liberate the port of Vladivostok, and Kirov once again enters the Sea of Japan to confront the Chinese Navy. But the fire of war begins to spin off wild tangents, as China launches Operation Wildfire in the Med to close the Western shipping lanes and seal off the Suez Canal.
   Argos Fire is soon caught up in the fighting, which sweeps across the “Middle Sea” from Gibraltar to Egypt when the Chinese begin a dangerous game of commerce raiding. As the tankers burn, a much stronger Royal Navy in 2025 stands to, as an enemy fleet bears down on the long time British bastion of Malta. Yet Elena Fairchild and the doughty Captain MacRae will soon have more things to worry about than they imagined. A late novel excursion takes them one step closer to unraveling the mystery of the seven keys....

Kirov Saga
Tangent Fire

John Schettler

Part I – Volkov
Part II – Kazan
Part III – The Siberian
Part IV – Beihai Sea
Part V – Argos Fire
Part VI – Maersk Havana
Part VII – Wildfire
Part VIII– Malta
Part IX – Tangent Fire
Part X – Greensleeves
Part XI – Keys to the Kingdom
Part XII – Excursions

316 Pages, 36 Chapters, about 105,000 words.
Kindle Version: $4.99 ~ Quality Trade Paperback: $19.99

Monday, September 16, 2019

Available Now! Eagle Rising

The Next War....

John Schettler’s Kirov Series launches the ground war in Europe!


About Eagle Rising: Volume 7 in the Next War segment of the Kirov Saga.

Volume VII in the Next War segment of the long Kirov Saga now takes the war in 2021 to Europe as NATO begins its long awaited counteroffensive to liberate the Baltic States. Operation Eagle Rising begins with a bold stroke to cut off the Russian salient of Kaliningrad, and liberate Kaunas and Vilnius in Lithuania. As the American divisions push through the Suwalki Gap, strong German and British contingents under Brigadiers Berg and Kinlan are on their left, fighting their way across the Neman River. Eventually, the plan is to drive north to Riga, the capital of Latvia, and cross the Daugava River. Can the vaunted Russian Army stop them while also fighting a dramatic battle for control of Kharkov in the Ukraine?
Meanwhile, Kirov moves east towards a meeting with Tyrenkov at the Northern Shamrock, only to find the Grey Wolves in a daunting and perplexing encounter when they reach that far flung Arctic outpost. They soon realize things are terribly wrong....

The war in 2021 moves to Europe in Volume 7, Eagle Rising, the name of the NATO operation to begin the liberation of the Baltic States. Before the war, armies were evaluated by their strength on paper, the hot new hardware they were building, or the sheer numbers fielded , yet very few units in the Armies of the world actually had any real combat experience. The United States was the great exception within NATO, having fought two massive Gulf wars, an endless war in Afghanistan, and ten years in Iraq. American generals had proved they could transport, deploy, stage and operate massive land forces in a major full spectrum, multi-domain ground war. Other NATO partners joined in those battles, giving them some experience as well. On the other side, Russia had fought in Chechnya, Georgia, the Ukraine and Syria, giving some of its many brigades a taste of modern combat. As for China, in spite of its massive Army, rapidly growing Navy and burgeoning Air Force, it had virtually no modern day combat experience of any kind.
Now all sides would all be put to the test in a way that had not been seen since WWII. Fighting insurgents in Iraq, which represented the bulk of the time the US was there, or hounding ISIS out of Syria, is not the same as meeting a peer adversary on a modern day high intensity field of battle. Now we’re about to see just how good the tanks, APC’s, and troops on every side are in a fast paced ground war on two fronts in Europe. Concurrent with NATO’s Operation Eagle Rising, the Russians have countered on the far flung fields of the Ukraine with a surprise offensive of their own.
By moving their entire 58th Army out of the Caucasus, where no action was expected, they rapidly doubled the number of troops they had in the Donbass. At the same time, other units from their Central Military District crossed into Ukraine from Belgorod. There, on those blood sodden fields where Zhukov’s Red Army battled Manstein’s Armeegruppe South, the Russians stage a big operation aimed at pinching off Kharkov.
Both actions are presented in the first 18th Chapters of this volume, a mighty clash of modern armies that ends up featuring Brigadiers Berg and Kinlan prominently in the action. As these battles begin to reach a conclusion, the story takes us back to Korea again briefly for a dire escalation there that starts that doomsday clock ticking again. These battles all come to a head by the mid-point of the book, and the likely military outcome in the Baltic States and Ukraine is decided. Then the story shifts back to Kirov and company in the far north, after Karpov put in his stunning Zircon strike to drive Captain Tanner’s CVN Washington out of the war with heavy damage. The ship makes it to a friendly port, but just barely, and will be long months in the shipyards.
The whole second half of this volume now focuses entirely on Kirov and crew. The ship returns to Severomorsk and the crew is given a much needed shore leave. While Karpov tries to clean house, Voronin, his would be Zampolit (Political Officer), is still scheming, and with Ivan Volkov in the mix. Voronin had earlier threatened to use his elite “Grey Wolves” security force to bring Karpov to heel, and plots are still simmering on and off the ship in this port call. Silenko’s steady recruitment of Gennadi Orlov proceeds and the plot thickens when Volkov gets involved. Tyrenkov comes to pay Fedorov and Karpov a visit, and as the three men discuss Russia’s prospects, it becomes clear that Tyrenkov is also scheming on something.
Things come to a head on the docks at Severomorsk, but Kirov will soon find itself out to sea again, with puzzling orders that Karpov vows to disregard. The result is a most unusual ending to this book, when Fedorov and Karpov try to figure out how they can use the gift hidden in Director Kamenski’s briefcase. (Have any of you guessed what it is yet?)
In an eerie sortie east, Karpov intends to go pick up his old Air Commandant Bogrov and his airship crew, but instead the ship and crew meet the Grey Wolves, only not in the way they first feared and expected. It becomes a haunting little side trip in parts IX and X of this one, and also sets up what is going to happen next, because this look at the next war has many more battles to be fought—just not where you might expect them. To say more would spoil the ending, but seeds planted earlier in the tale now grow to take us up the bean stock to another round of WWIII action, as the author widens his lens to show us something more.

The next book in the series, entitled Tangent Fire now comes up in the position that has been reserved for the season finale. Is this the end? We asked John about it to get the scoop .

“No,” said John, “the 8th Volume in this season will not end the series yet. While it will bring the events of the war in 2021 to a conclusion, our heroes, and the ship, have yet more work to do. Telling you about it now would spoil the ending of Volume 7, so you’ll have to wait and see. All I can tell you is that, much like the story line that occupies the second half of Eagle Rising, what follows next will be largely centered on the ship, but I’ll let Fedorov and Karpov tell you about it all in this book. Enjoy!”

BUY FOR KINDLE or eBook Reader: $4.99 – Also available as a Quality Trade Paperback

Kirov Saga
Eagle Rising

John Schettler

Part I – Changelings
Part II – Article V
Part III – The Cauldron
Part IV – Stand Firm
Part V – Trick or Treat
Part VI – Fork in the Road
Part VII – The Devil’s Bargain
Part VIII– Plots and Devices
Part IX – The Frozen Night
Part X – Grey Wolves
Part XI – The Mushroom
Part XII – Reunions