Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Enter "The Space Between"

 Kirov Series Ventures Into Strange Far Places


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


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


 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

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Get Ready For Zulu Hour!

 Keyholder's Saga #2 launches new year on or before Jan 1



Strap on your pith helmet, load that Martini & Henry rifle, and stand to!

The Zulu War has long been a military history favorite, memorialized in two popular movies, Zulu Dawn, and Zulu. The first presented the invasion of Zululand when the British General, Lord Chelmsford, led his #3 Column across the Buffalo River on 10-11 January 1879. What followed was a series of missteps characterized by overconfident hubris, and downright stupidity. For reasons that seemed perfectly logical to the General at the time, he managed to violate most every rule he penned into his own orders and guidelines for the conduct of armies in the field in South Africa. Historians have long railed against his failure, even after being warned, to laager his wagons and create a sound defensive position at the camp he made near the prominent hill of Isandlwana. Then inexplicably to many, he divided his army without having sound intelligence as to their whereabouts and strength, let alone any real idea of their intentions. The result was the greatest military defeat and disaster to befall British arms in the colorful Colonial Period, when some 1300 British regulars and native troops were slaughtered in a grand massacre of the camp at Isandlwana—all while Chelmsford had half his army out on a reconnaissance in force to the east.

Could the disaster have ever been prevented? Would sound preparations at the camp and more prudence, caution, and respect for his enemy have reversed the tragic defeat? These are just a few of the question that writer John Schettler explores and tries to answer in his alternate history of Chelmsford’s invasion, and the battles that followed. Learning why Chelmsford did what he did is an important part of the tale, and this one gives us a very good look at his invasion in a wonderfully written military fiction.

Mister Schettler has been writing in the genres of military history and alternate outcomes for over 20 years. One of his first explorations was the award winning novel Meridian, which explored the fate of Lawrence of Arabia in the deserts of Syria during WWI. That novel spawned four others in the Meridian Series, which ended up visiting the time of the Crusades in Palestine, Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and the Middle East in 1799, the famous ‘Battle of Tours’ when Charles Martel turned back the Islamic invasion of southern France in October of 732, and finally a thrilling tale that sends the Meridian Team back in time when they discover the great German battleship Bismarck was not sunk on its maiden voyage, which had a dramatic effect on the course of WWII. Their aim is to find out why, and do anything possible to send that battleship to its proper rendezvous with the Royal Navy, and a resting place at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean.

That final book in the Meridian Series tickled a long time fascination the author had for great fighting ships, particularly the battleships of WWII. He was going to write an alternate naval history of WWII, only with the German Navy built out much stronger, with behemoths like the Hindenburg overshadowing  both Bismarck and Tirpitz in power, but then he took a leap of imagination and focused on another ship, the powerful Russian Kirov Class battlecruisers of modern times. That leap had since seen him write the longest continuously running story ever penned in his popular Kirov Series, where cadres of his most loyal fans have stayed with the story through all of 50 Plus volumes as of this writing. That tale finally became his grand alternate history of WWII, with heavy emphasis on all the naval engagements, but also all the major land battles fought in every theater of the war. It’s a deeply compelling tale of the war, and one where you can get lost in it for days on end with each new release in the series.

In the middle of that long saga, one major subplot involved the discovery of mysterious keys that open heavily engineered metal doors protecting hidden passages. All the keys had been found in special places in the history—at the famous Oracle of Delphi, embedded in one of the Elgin Marbles, the Rosetta Stone discovered in Egypt during Napoleon’s invasion, in a vase on display in the Summer Palace of the Qing Dynasty in China, and also in one of the recently unearthed Terracotta warriors. And these keys are what now make this journey to Zululand in 1879 possible.

The premise is a simple one: two wealthy industrialists have possession of one of these mysterious keys, which conceal rifts in spacetime behind the doors they open. They have used them to take long safaris through the past, wagering with one another on the outcome of famous historical battles. It’s the basic energy that Mister Schettler first kindled in his Meridian Series, and the first of these books titled Field of Glory opened what he calls the “Keyholders Saga” emerged from his Kirov Series in a wonderful retelling of the Battle of Waterloo. This one, the fate of Lord Chelmsford and his British Army in Zululand, is volume 2 in the series, and not to be missed by any fan of this history.

In fact, the more you know of the history of this campaign, the more you will be entertained. The author explores the effort made by Sir Roger Ames, the Duke of Elvington in Modern times, as he jousts with his nemesis, one Jean Michel Fortier playing for the Zulu side of this war. The Duke is trying to save Chelmsford and prevent the disaster at Isandlwana, and Fortier is trying to make sure the fierce impis of the Zulus properly devour the British. The result of this contest takes us to the heart of all the decisions Chelmsford had before him after crossing the Buffalo River into Zululand, and the alternative choices he might have made to alter the disastrous outcome. Yet even if you are not well versed in the history surrounding the battle, you will certainly be well educated by the time you finish this novel. It opens with a three chapter introduction from the Kirov Series, and then 33 all new chapters to relate the tale.

Beginning at the crossing of the Buffalo River on 10-11 January, the author shows why it took Chelmsford nearly 12 days to move just nine more miles into Zululand. In that interval, all the many possibilities and choices before him are explored, and Sir Roger Ames is doing his very best to get him to correct his oversights and errors, and push the course of the campaign to an alternate outcome. The history buffs will enjoy all of this segment, and then, midway through the book, the time to prove whether the Duke’s interventions have saved the hour finally arrives with “The Coming of the Shadows,” the massive Zulu army of some 20,000 men against less than 5,000 under Chelmsford’s command. From that point on, the last half of the book is all the alternate history battles that flowed from the Duke’s interventions, every bit as detailed and visceral as those in the movies.

So strap on your pith helmet, load that Martini & Henry rifle, and stand to! Zulu Hour is a wonderful leap into all this fascinating and exciting military history by an author that had emerged as the new master of that genre, with over 60 books out now that use some means of time travel to get modern day characters back in to the heart of these famous battles, and live them through in a way they never could while safe and sound in their libraries or reading chairs. Zulu Hour presents a convincing, well-researched alternate outcome of this first great clash between Lord Chelmsford and the Zulus, and it’s one no fan of the genre, or any of this military history, will want to miss.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Kirov Series: Jericho

 The Next War: 2025 

BUY NOW ON AMAZON: $4.99 (Kindle)

As the Siberians struggle to recover from the terrible event at Irkutsk, a tense pause in operations ensues. But Karpov is now eager to get north, and when he learns the Koreans are planning an amphibious operation against Vladivostok in the coming days, he is determined to intervene. Along the way he and Fedorov meet an old nemesis, now a newfound friend as they enter the Sea of Japan.

Out on the First Island Chain, China’s ‘Great Wall at Sea’ is now the object of Admiral Cook’s Fleet Carrier Force. He intends to shout down that wall with a storm of missiles and aircraft, as the USMC prepares Operation Sledgehammer against Amami and Okinawa.

Now Admiral Zheng Bao rallies the PLAN fleet in defense of the Ryukyus, and on the mainland, China musters its remaining ballistic missile ship killers in an effort to turn the fortunes of war in their favor. The last desperate battles of the war begin as the Western navies hammer on the wall that guards the East China Sea.

About Jericho:
The war that began in 2025 has now come full circle in the next volume of the Kirov Series, Jericho, as the fighting returns to the place where it all began in the Ryukyu Island Chain. The US Navy has now reached the edge of the East China Sea, the rocky “First Island Chain” that China hoped to hold secure. Billed as China’s Great Wall at Sea, the seizure of the Ryukyus from Amami in the north and south through Okinawa to the Miyako Islands lit the fuse on what might have been a limited conflict in the Pacific, but that was not to be. After engagements from the Med, to the Canary Islands, the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf, the war rolled back into the Pacific as the US secured its island bases at Palau, Yap, and the Marianas, and buttressed Singapore.

After a brief sortie into the South China Sea, Alpha Strike then presented the many campaign against Chinese position sin the Philippines. The effort was to break the network of airfields China relied upon, and without air cover, the fleet had limited staying power. Once munitions at Manila Bay ran out, they had no choice other than to fall back on Taiwan. Yet the last volume saw the return of Admiral Wu Jinlong, who had been relieved of his command earlier after his failure to take out US island outposts after seizing Davao in his Operation Sea Eagle. He was steadily driven from the Celebes Sea and retreated through the Sulu Sea to safer waters, only to find himself relieved and given command of a desk on Hainan Island.

In Alpha Strike, Wu Jinlong returns to torment the Japanese in action in and around the vital Tsushima Strait, called “The North Gate” connecting the East China Sea to the Sea of Japan, which the Chinese are now renaming the Bohai Sea. Alpha Strike then left us with the stunning detonation at Irkutsk, which shocked the Siberians and prompted Karpov to get Kirov’s bow headed north.

In Jericho, the PLAN begins the defense of its Great Wall at Sea along the Ryukyu Island chain, while Wu Jinlong redeems himself with his occupation of the Goto Islands and Tsushima. The US Navy has reinforced to have five Carrier Strike Groups available when the Roosevelt is moved from the Indian Ocean. That group joins Admiral Cook’s fleet carriers, Enterprise, Independence, Washington and John F. Kennedy. Now this powerful fleet sails east of the Great Wall at Sea, and begins its mighty shouts to start bringing that wall down. The USN has also seen the arrival of the entire “Gator” force, ten light carriers with other supporting ships carrying an entire US Marine Division.

The battles here are on a scale that has not been seen since WWII. Admiral Cook and the Marines will begin in the north to prepare the invasion of Amami, with the next big objective in the plan being Okinawa. The fighting in this volume is intense, and all the decisions made by either side are well explained through the musings and meetings of all the Admirals in charge. As this volume closes, Vladimir Karpov is eager to get north, particularly after the disastrous incident at Irkutsk. When the 48 hour cooling off period between China and Siberia expires, Karpov learns that Vladivostok is now threatened again. Liberated by his lately departed brother-self, Karpov now rushes north to oppose a big amphibious operation aimed at Vladivostok by the Korean Navy.

In Jericho, this astounding depiction of WWIII now careens toward its conclusion in the final volume of Season 7, Whirlwind. That will still leave the unfinished business between Kirov and company, and the dastardly machinations of Ivan Volkov, who also has a doppelganger operating in the past, and that is the substance of the final season of the Kirov Series, (yes, we mean it this time) coming next year after the war finishes in Whirlwind. There’s never been anything like this series. With a scope and scale that is truly awesome, it will end up running ten years before it concludes. Don’t miss the big battles here in Jericho, as this one comes to Amazon on December 1st.

BUY NOW ON AMAZON: $4.99 (Kindle)

Paperback also available in a few days

Kirov Saga:
Volume #55 - Jericho

John Schettler

Part I – Vindication
Part II – The Swelling Tide
Part III – Urgent Sword
Part IV – Stand Your Ground
Part V – Attrition
Part VI – Engagement
Part VII – Sledgehammer
Part VIII– Island Wars
Part IX – Decisions
Part X – Old Friends & Enemies
Part XI – Bohai Sea
Part XII – The Big Stick