Sunday, January 16, 2022

Kirov sails for the Final Sortie


 

Buy for Kindle: $4.99


Fans of the long running Kirov Series may have a lump in their throats as Karpov (the younger) takes the ship into the Pacific for what will be the ship's final sortie. His prey? The Imperial Japanese Navy in 1941. Arriving after Pearl Harbor, Fedorov sets the course to intercept the Kido Butai as it returns to Japan. 

Get ready for action, because Karpov is going to lay into the Japanese Navy like Clint Eastwood with a good piece of hickory. The action builds and builds to a climax at the end of Chapter 15, until a problem presents itself.

   Series readers will remember that the Modern Japanese Destroyer Takami emerges from the ash covered Java Sea after Krakatoa erupts, Captain Harada begins interacting with Japanese Generals and Admirals, until he works his way up to a meeting with the legendary Isoroku Yamamoto himself—and some of this interesting interaction is revised here. The remainder of this volume is then every bit as riveting as the first 15 chapters, loaded with naval combat, much of it devoted a long series of engagements between Kirov and Takami as they stalk each other like a pair of Gladiators. Takami has some surprising new capabilities to even things out, but remember, Karpov is in the big Chair aboard Kirov, and can never be underestimated.

The Long Goodbye...

At the conclusion of Volume 6, Sea Lions, Fedorov sustained an injury that would take his life, but Karpov is not willing to let the author write his co-conspirator in Time out of the story just yet. As he has done twice before, he immediately rushes to the Kamenski Device in an effort to get to safe time in the past where Fedorov is whole, healthy and well… But something goes wrong. The Deus es Machina in a box fails to perform as anticipated. Enter Sir Roger Ames for a look under the hood of the Kamenski Device to see if he can identify the problem, which then launches Karpov on a mission to find the one thing they need to get it to work properly again.  This will soon take Baikal back to the lake it is named for.

Season 8 has been a roller coaster ride with a number of twists from the more familiar military fiction into the realms of both horror and pure science fiction. When Karpov’s excursion in search of Kolchak’s Gold led him to a strange hidden railway tunnel near the source of the Angara River we were all transported to what the author calls “Strange far places,” a phrase he quotes from H.P. Lovecraft. Then we got some riveting scenes where a platoon of rangers on patrol along the Stony Tunguska face some of the very same creatures that both Karpov and Fedorov stumbled upon while on opposite ends of Siberia. Fedorov calls the creatures “Raptors” and what can only be called the “Raptor War” begins, reaching its height at the mid-point of the season, in Coming Through. Biology has a good deal to do with the outcome of that conflict, as Baikal moves from one suspected entry point to another, finding and demolishing hidden temporal rifts where the Raptors are coming through to modern years and wreaking considerable havoc. On two occasions, Karpov resorts to heavy handed blows against the Hordes of flying intruders.

Fedorov wants to investigate a strong magnetic anomaly in the Taklamakan desert, which leads to an amazing discovery. Then, trying to clean up loose ends and problems, they decide to hunt down the German raider Kaiser Wilhelm, flying to the deep south Atlantic to stop that ship’s meddling before it can return to Germany with its great nuclear prize in hand. Once again, it is Fedorov’s curiosity that then pulls the mission team further south into Antarctica. The author confesses he has a strange fascination for stories set in polar climes, possibly because he spent three years teaching Eskimos up near the arctic circle in Alaska. This side trip was first presented as a visit to Operation Highjump, which itself is wreathed in its own set of legends and lore. Then the team makes another macabre discovery in a strange far place, and one that will have some rather dire consequences.

The Author has revealed that Sir Roger Ames is a man from the future, and then uses him to make other revelations about the thing Fedorov’s team finds in the ice caverns of Antarctica. It is certainly not to be mistaken for anything that evolved on this earth, like the Raptors. This time the story goes full on X-Files and Sir Roger, using his knowledge from the future, explains that if earth is visited by alien species some might be benign, others not so benign. Using a metaphor, he characterizes the specimen Fedorov has discovered in Antarctica as the “Murder Hornets” where Alien species are concerned. And the team soon learns that their discovery could be quite dangerous, not only to the mission crew, but to the planet as a whole.

Their decision to return to Antarctica and settle the matter seems to tamp things down, but the author has told us that plot line is not yet tied off. Now we move on to the seventh book in this season, The Final Sortie, where the author largely stays with the ship and crew as Karpov stalks the Imperial Japanese Navy in the early days of the Pacific War in 1941-42, and raises hell. The action builds and builds to a climax at the end of Chapter 15, until  the arrival of the modern Japanese Destroyer Takami, which then sets off another series of battles against that ship.

At the end, Fedorov confronts another mystery that haunts him from the days of the endless fog the ship was once marooned in—something that effects the fate lines of Volsky, Orlov and others. The cliff hanger here is the coming of Admiral Kita, arriving early at Enewetok through the rift created by the US post-war Ivy Mike detonation. That rift extended deep into the past, and delivers a powerful modern day Japanese task force to the scene, one even stronger than what we saw earlier in the series. Is this the nemesis the author will use to seal Kirov’s fate?  We’ll just have to wait for that last volume coming the first quarter of 2022. Brothers, after ten years with this story, it will be a sad day when it ends with the Series Finale in the final book, appropriately entitled Journey's End. That said, the author has included an announcement at the end of this book for a new series he is launching in 2022, something altogether different that I’m now really looking forward to. The first Volume of that new tale is already complete, and John is working on the web site while he finishes Journey's end. Its in an entirely different genre.

For now, hop aboard Kirov for the Final Sortie. This one builds up at the end to what will likely be the last missiles to be fired by the ship and crew. The Series Finale, Journey's End is going to focus heavily on all the main characters, as each one's fate line is tied off, one by one. If you were there at the beginning, you'll definitely want to be there for the ending in these last two volumes. So join our 'Wanderers in eternity' and walk that missile deck once again, but be ready when the claxon sounds!

 

Kirov Saga #63

The Final Sortie 

By

John Schettler

 

Part I – Catch-22

Part II – Wading In

Part III – Karpov’s War

Part IV – Hara’s Dilemma

Part V – Moskit#10

Part VI – Bloodhounds

Part VII – Shadow Thread

Part VIII– Strange Bedfellows

Part IX – Gladiators

Part X – Devil in the Banda Sea

Part XI – The Marathon

Part XII – Homeward Bound

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Coming Through

 The invasion is Coming Through!



Available Aug 15, 2021
Kindle ebook: $4.99
Trade Paperback: $19.99

About:

The Final season reached its midpoint by the end of this volume, as the series takes us to some dark corners and unplumbed depths of the world in search of temporal rifts being used by the Raptors, which have been coming through into modern eras and posing a real challenge.  Fedorov and Karpov have already been frustrated with their inability to close the so called “Sky Rift” over the epicenter of the Tunguska Event, but that is but one of many undiscovered rifts, and the Raptors have a sixth sense that allows them to find them. 

Many have been located in deep underground cave networks, possibly because the Raptors fled underground in their own world when Chicxulub fell. Fedorov finds a wealth of information at the Krasnoyarsk Speleo Club that gives him good maps of the caves. Their mission is to find points in the tunnel systems to set demolition charges and prevent any breakout, just as they did at Lake Lama and Rail tunnel # 39 in earlier volumes. 

For readers dropping in on these volumes and hearing talk of Raptors, these are not the small but vicious predators that were featured in Jurassic Park, but a creature unknown to modern science that was missed in the paleontological records. It is highly evolved, with a mix of physical features akin to birds, bats, and reptiles, but bipedal and very intelligent. It’s ability to fly or drift on atmospheric thermals has proven very daunting. Fedorov’s theory, particularly after a reconnaissance to the deep past, is that these creatures have seen what devastation will be caused by the Chicxulub asteroid impact, and that they have homed in on magnetic anomalies associated with temporal rifts to migrate to a safer time in the future. As it happens, the modern worlds they end up invading already have one well established apex predator—humans, and there is no tolerance for the arrival of another, particularly one that has been treating humans as a prey animal. What results is an inter-species war, where both sides end up using some fairly terrible weapons.

While the Raptors, as Fedorov has chosen to call them, have not shown much in the way of tool use or any advanced technology, they do present a most unexpected and deadly new kind of attack in this volume, and a simple school Janitor, a man named Boris, is one of the first to find out just how deadly it can be.

As it served them well in the past, Fedorov and Karpov make good use of the incredible power of the Kamenski Device, which allows them to make very precise temporal shifts. With it they can go back and correct their mishaps until they get a desired outcome. Karpov decides that taking a brief jaunt forward to modern times allows them a dual opportunity to bring back more modern weapons for his Siberian army, which must now fight the Raptors in addition to Volkov’s Orenburg Host. At the same time, they can harvest information to update their portable Wiki files, and Nikolin has been busy researching to find out when and where the Raptors might make their next big attacks.

Karpov refuses to look at information on how he conducts his battles in the field against Volkov, but he has no scruples about gaining this kind of intelligence on the Raptors so he can beef up his defenses ahead of time and give them a real surprise when they attack. But the Raptors fight back with a few surprises of their own in an eerie twist on this inter-species warfare.

In the midst of all of this, Fedorov and Karpov also find time to get back on mission and resolve the fate of Josef Stalin. Ivan Volkov is at his wits end against Karpov’s resurgent Siberian Army and decides he must go underground and disappear from the history to drop off of Karpov’s radar screen.

All in all, there’s a lot going on here in this volume, with action on many scales, near death danger to major characters, and some most unexpected twists and turns along the way. The Raptors were a most refreshing change of pace for the series, but as this volume ends, Fedorov is confronted with the possibility that all they have done may be in vain, and that the world they fought to preserve, in two world wars, may still be doomed. 

Kirov Saga:

Coming Through                                                    

By

John Schettler

Part I – Trollswarren

Part II – A Stich In Time

Part III – Jonah

Part IV – Second Chances

Part V – In Case of Armageddon

Part VI – The Missing Tooth

Part VII – Stalin

Part VIII– Consolidation

Part IX – Boris

Part X – The Delta Thread

Part XI – Pyrrhic Victories

Part XII – Taklamakan

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Enter "The Space Between"

 Kirov Series Ventures Into Strange Far Places


BUY FOR KINDLE: $4.99


Get ready to enter the Space Between.

The next installment in the Kirov Series, #59, takes its title from that given to Part I of No Man’s Land. Here, The Space Between begins with some haunting quotes from HP Lovecraft that allude to the strange entities discovered earlier as an old intelligent race. Karpov and Fedorov sees how the Raptors retreat into the Sky Rift over Tunguska, and of course, he wonders where it takes them, since 1908 had been the normal destination point for things entering that rift any time in the future.  Fedorov is grateful to be there after Karpov’s use of the Kamenski device to go and retrieve an earlier version of the man after he vanished, and to avoid the circumstances that may have contributed to his temporal instability. Now, wanting to know more about the “Raptors,” Fedorov suggests a reconnaissance to the deep past to have a look, and we’re off to the races. The book takes you by the throat like a Raptor claw, and doesn’t let up as Karpov goes to war on this emerging threat. 

In No Man’s Land we saw how the Raptors began infiltrating into modern times during WWI during the Battle of Cambrai. Baikal and crew have become a kind of antibody reaction to these incursions, led by Fedorov’s insatiable curiosity, and his effort to prevent what he sees as real trouble should a larger host of the entities come forward into modern times. 

If you liked the oddly different but strangely satisfying run ins with these creatures in the tunnels and trenches of WWI, then this one will take that story thread to a higher gear. Karpov soon learns that there is a lost battalion of his army that is already out hunting the Raptors in the Tunguska region, and actions there soon lead the mission to times and places where they never thought they could go. We will get a gripping battle at Vanavara, where Zykov finally gets his fervent wish to bring down something really big. 

In the meantime, what’s been happening with the ship and crew we all spent so many hours on? Admiral Volsky has decided that Kirov can not sit idle in Vladivostok, particularly since the port is being hit by Chinese rockets in the still simmering Sino-Siberian war. This soon leads us to a long segment aboard Kirov, where the ship, of course, slips in time again and gets caught up in another reality. It’s the author’s way of showing us what ends up happening to the future Volkov has created and runs from Part V through Part X of this volume. Kirov makes a number of unplanned excursions, and the author is using these segments to tie off plot lines in those times. The fate of Volkov’s future, where Imperial Japan still reigns in the Western Pacific, is particularly chilling, because the big natural events that ended the last volume. Between the skyfall of Bennu, and the reawakening of the Demon, Kirov is now sailing in some very dangerous and unstable waters, from a temporal standpoint as well as a military one.

Along the way, we learn more of how the war in 2021 ended, at least in the Pacific Theater where it began. Then, for the ending, we return to events involving the Raptors. One is a major incursion in 2026, the other a sortie to try and seal off other similar rifts. 

So this volume is loaded, from tense small unit actions against the Raptor threat to a nuclear exchange in the Pacific. It has naval action, missile duels, ground action, and oh yes, Dinosaurs. 


Kirov Saga:

The Space Between

July 1, 2021

By

John Schettler

Part I – Between two worlds

Part II – The Lost Battalion

Part III – Voyaging Far

Part IV – A Gun for Dinosaur

Part V – The Last Sortie

Part VI – Mizuchi

Part VII – The Fog

Part VIII– The Japanese

Part IX – Out of the Frying Pan

Part X – Homeward Bound

Part XI – Into the Void

Part XII – Bernardo


Saturday, May 1, 2021

No Man's Land


 Season 8 gets into gear!

The startling developments in the season opener, The Mission, now begin to get traction as Fedorov and Karpov find more trouble ahead from "the Raptors."

NOTE: If you haven't read "The Mission" yet, spoilers dead ahead!

   What to say about the latest evolutions of the Kirov Series? One reader wrote to say this: “I’ve just finished “The Mission” and was utterly and totally gripped by it. The introduction of time rifts leading back 30,000 years to the Pleistocene is an unexpected and welcome twist to Karpov and Fedorov’s mission to deal with the Volkov “brothers.” I found the entry of the Raptors quite terrifying and the possibility that they are also time travelers trying to mold events to their preferred outcomes. The description you give of their appearance made me think that they could be highly evolved descendants of Oviraptors, themselves highly evolved dinosaurs? Anyway, I can’t wait until “No Man’s Land” comes out to see how things develop!”
    Well, with this prolific writer you never have to wait too long. Get ready to step into No Man’s Land, if you dare, as Karpov and Fedorov take us to one of the most significant battle of WWI in 1917—Cambrai. It was a battle that was conceived to try and prove the viability of the latest weapon on the field, tanks, as the British launch them in waves, almost 400 fighting tanks in all. Unlike the sodden, muddy fields of Passchendaele which bogged down the tanks rendering many immobile, the ground around Cambrai was, mostly good hard chalk, and not heavily cratered by heavy fighting.
    Now the British introduce a new concept of operations—“Combined Arms,” where new methods of artillery fire, massed tanks and close cooperation by infantry become the key elements of a spectacular advance by WWI standards, and against some of the strongest fieldworks the German Army ever built in the war, the Siegfried and Hindenburg Lines. The Bells were ringing all over London but “all glory is fleeting” and the Germans soon plan a major counterattack, the largest ever mounted against the British Army in that war, and they have new tactics as well.
    In the midst of all this, we fall in with the “Kickers” the men who put their backs to one trench wall, fixed their spade into the opposite wall and gave it a good hard kick to begin some new digging operation. While this battle was not one where extensive “undermining” operations occurred, the author had added one in the south of the opening British position, near the Village of Gonnelieu. We will be led into the secret underground tunnels by the Kickers, Diggers and Baggers, only we soon find that they are not the only ones digging beneath the ghastly spaces of No Man’s Land above. Soon both the British and German armies must contend with frightening visitors in their underground tunnels and trenches.
    This opening segment of the book is a welcome visit to WWI, but no tour of that great conflict would be complete without a peek at the naval action too. Of course our heroes soon find a good reason to backshift a year to drop in on the famous Battle of Jutland, and we get a brisk look at that duel between Beatty, Jellicoe, Hipper and Scheer. A pity Kirov could not be in attendance, (though Karpov is there with Baikal), but another ship that has been shifting about in time is involved, and we are returned to Captain Dieter Jung and his crew aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm, an alternate ship build from WWII. This is a subplot of the book that had to be tied off, and the author uses this segment for that purpose, and to give us a nice alternate history of the Battle of Jutland.
    Following this, we get an unexpected twist when Fedorov learns of more trouble beneath the old Citadel of Cambrai, in the  so called “Souterrains” there. His away team makes yet another incredible find, but the mission is one that lays heavily on Fedorov, sending Karpov into a near panic. All this time, Mironov has quietly receded into the background, because the Kamenski Device demonstrates some remarkable new capabilities, and Fedorov and Karpov decide they can get to Josef Stalin in due course. In the meantime, Karpov is rallying the Siberian Army against Volkov’s Orenburg Host, first at Omsk and then pursuing him west to Orsk. As they advance, our heroes wonder what effect their campaigns might have of the overall outcome of things, for this is a struggle to destroy the future Volkov built and preserve that arising from the alternate history of WWII that makes up the bulk of the series.
    All in all, we have a great mix of ground action, small unit engagements, raids, sea battles, and some downright horror in the tunnels and trenches here, making No Man’s Land a solid entry as season 8 gets into gear. We even get to drop in on the  mighty Kirov for the ending, to see what Volsky and the crew are up to. The Admiral has more than enough to deal with when his leisurely voyage to Petropavlovsk is interrupted by a most unexpected visitor, and an old nemesis Fedorov had warned him about before he departed. That sets the table for the next book, where it looks like we will again spend a good long while walking the decks of Kirov. After all, the ship itself has a fate, like any of the characters. Will it meet that on this last dangerous voyage?
    We will soon see. This volume has it all, the tanks, dreadnaughts, armored trains, Zeppelins and more, coming in May to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Kirov Series!

Coming May 1: http://writingshop.ws/html/no_man-s_land.html

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Whirlwind

 Season Seven ends the war in 2026 in Whirlwind, and then gives us the root and stem of the next book the final season premier: The Mission. Both books are out now on Amazon!


About Whirlwind, by John Schettler

The war that began in 2025 now reaches its conclusion in the Pacific as the US deploys a startling new weapon that will hunt down the Last Dragons. In a stunning preview of things to come, it now threatens to rewrite the book on Naval Warfare and ironically, it may also end the long reign of the big deck carriers. Now Sun Wei, Zheng Bao and Wu Jinlong fight their final battles as Admiral Cook leads his carriers into the East China Sea. Includes a full assessment of the weapons and tactics that decided the outcome, and losses sustained by both sides.

Then, Fedorov and Karpov plan and launch their dangerous mission to 1908 to try and save Sergei Kirov and eliminate the daunting influence of Ivan Volkov. As Admiral Volsky takes command of Kirov, Fedorov tries the back stairway at Ilanskiy, while Karpov leads the bulk of the mission force to Tunguska on the airship Baikal. Soon both ends of the mission meet unexpected difficulties and complications, as Volkov maneuvers to eliminate his enemies and secure his timeline as the only future that could possibly arise from these events. More details at www.writingshop.ws

About The Mission by John Schettler 

   The long planned mission to save the future they fought for in so many wars is now underway, but Fedorov’s team at Ilanskiy must fend for itself when Karpov and the airship Baikal only reach the year 1919. As Fedorov struggles to find and secure Mironov while  avoiding Paradox, Karpov cannot resist the lure of war, and decides to involve himself in the Russian Civil War. He wants to replace the Siberian leader Kolchak, and also find the valuable Gold train he has hidden. To do so he must deal with the legendary Czech Legion as they push towards the port of Vladivostok. His quest will soon discover far more than he anticipated as he launches a mission to explore abandoned railway tunnels near Lake Baikal, in search of Kolchak’s Gold.

   Meanwhile Fedorov looks for a way to safely hide until their planned attempt to locate Josef Stalin, but he and his Marines also make an astonishing discovery that shakes him to the core. It seems that the Tunguska Event has done far more damage to Spacetime than he first believed.

Both books are out now for Kindle and Paperbacks should be available soon. 


More details at www.writingshop.ws