“Just when I thought I was out, he pulls me back in!” Kirov series fans will feel a bit like Michael Corleone
with the news that author John Schettler has secretly penned an encore volume of the Kirov Series, #65 in the grand tour. Like Karpov, he explains that peacetime was slowly sapping his
strength, and so like a band coming out after a long concert and playing a last few tunes, Mister Schettler has put together one more volume in the series, appropriately titled Encore.
It begins with Karpov fretting over having nothing to do of any importance, and in some emotional distress. His one lifeline was
the call he would make to Fedorov every Tuesday on Discord, but this time no one answers. Fedorov has been in a hotel in Moscow reading up on all the history between WWII and the modern
day world through 2026 at the end of the war. He receives a most unexpected visit from Director Kamenski, who brings an alarming warning. Fedorov must now flee his hotel and seek out a
safe house in Moscow.
Meanwhile, Karpov is worried something has happened to his fellow officer and friend, and he hitches a ride to Moscow on a cargo
plane, Kamenski device in hand in the event he cannot find Fedorov. Kamenski now explains another important reason for his visit. He is asking Fedorov and Karpov to go out on one more
mission aimed at upsetting and ambushing the arrival of the Skeletal “Murder Hornets” in the far flung future. With nothing better to do, and peacetime a burden, Karpov is
eager to get that mission underway.
The plan hatched by Kamenski and the so called “Directorate” in the future is to lay an ambush for the Skeletals on
Arrival day. Most of the work is done, but there was new intelligence concerning five Skeletal landing sites that were not covered in the plan. Our heroes are asked to visit them in
Baikal and finish the job. Of course these sites are in what the author calls “strange far places,” like those often visited in the series, and this is a refreshing sweet
desert after the many meals served up in the main series. The team visits three sites in Antarctica, and two in the north polar Arctic, including the new Russian base at Umka, near Temp
AFB north of Siberia. At many of these locations, they find they are not alone, and clashes with the “Ice Men” are the order of the day for Troyak and the Marines.
Fedorov’s research also learns that something has changed in the history of the war in 2025-26. Karpov agrees that it will
most likely affect the outcome, so they decide to take Kirov out from Vladivostok to investigate the situation. For Karpov this is the Mother’s Milk of life—naval combat, and
he gets two chances at that before this one ends.
From the very first in this book, Karpov and Fedorov come to suspect that the opening threat Kamenski reveals is a plan hatched
by their nemesis Ivan Volkov. Indeed, another version of Volkov has come to the new Prime Meridian from somewhere else, and he hatches numerous plans, Kamenski’s warning being just
the first. (Remember what happened at Irkutsk?) This eventually leads to a chance encounter at Ilanskiy, and then a bold challenge posed by Volkov to end this encore. Like a favorite song
from your favorite band, the ending here sees Kirov going out to give Karpov the chance he has been waiting for, head-to-head with Volkov on the high seas.
In many ways Encore represents a more fitting final end to the series as a whole, and it also answers a number of lingering
questions, one involving the character study the author presented for Tasarov. We learn more about Kamenski, the Skeletal Arrival in the future, and get a more fitting resolution to
Karpov’s long Vendetta with Ivan Volkov.
This one is not to be missed! And you may not get another chance to dance with the series for some time, so snatch it up. Encore
is completed and now entering the production cycle at the Writing Shop Press. Look for it on or before July 1, 2022, (on this Meridian).