Paradox Hour is aptly named, a novel that moves the Kirov Series back out to sea, with a proverbial rendezvous with destiny waiting somewhere ahead on the turbulent waters of WWII.
Throughout the many series installments, the ship’s former Navigator, and now Captain Fedorov, has hinted darkly that he expects they will soon be facing the problem and threat of a time paradox—the imminent first arrival of the ship on July 28, 1941. He reasons that this arrival must happen, for it began the long series of time jumps we have all been reading through, taking the story to some amazing places throughout WWII, and even as far back as 1908.
If the ship does not go through this time displacement, how could he even be where he is at that moment, the result of that very journey through time? Yet how can there be two ships in the same moment, one at the beginning of this journey, and one at what may be the end? How could there be duplicates of every member of the cast and crew? That is the paradox, at least as Fedorov sees it, and he fears that time can only solve it by eliminating one ship or another, and this is where a few of those small story seeds the author planted in the narrative long ago now begin to sprout.
Faithful series readers will remember the strange anomalies that were introduced as the story entered its second “season” with the coming of Altered States.
Those file boxes discovered in the archive of Bletchley Park were a mind-bending twist, and dovetailed with haunting memories that began to emerge in the mind of Admiral Tovey when he
again encounters this mysterious Russian ship in the North Atlantic. Yet there was something else mentioned in that segment—Alan Turing’s missing watch, which he mysteriously
re-discovered deep inside one of those file boxes. There was a clue the author dropped long ago, and one that now comes forward again in this novel, when strange and macabre
“incidents” begin to occur aboard Kirov. Are they forerunners to that moment of insoluble paradox Fedorov fears? This book now leads us down that darkening
As mentioned at the outset, it is largely a naval saga this time out, returning the story to the fertile waters that first spawned the tale. Admiral
Lütjens has sailed west into the Atlantic, and Force H does not have the heavy metal to challenge the German battleships, let alone stop them. In hot pursuit comes Admiral Tovey and his
allies from 2021, though they are more than 18 hours behind the action as the Hindenburg breaks out into the Atlantic. Since Kirov shifted to June of 1940, the author
has been taking us through a lovingly detailed accounting of those war years, right up to the eve of Operation Barbarossa in May of 1941. Now, with the action heading out to sea, the
principle WWII action there was, of course, the hunt for the Bismarck. Yet in this altered world where Kirov now sails, the power of the Kriegsmarine is many times greater.
After Hitler summarily cancels the Plan Z naval building program, Admiral Raeder is determined to do something dramatic with the ships he still has. Thus the Hindenburg , and the rest of the German ships that fought in the Med, now move to the Atlantic, and there they plan to rendezvous with the remainder of the German surface fleet, led by Kapitan Karl Topp aboard Tirpitz. Graf Zeppelin, and both Scharnhorst and Gneisenau are also assigned to that battlegroup, so you can see that we have another massive naval battle shaping up, and one that makes the actual Bismarck campaign in May of 1941 look like a small training exercise.
Yet that operation still underlies something that happens at the heart of this story, a mystery that has been slowly developed ever since Fedorov first discovered the back stairway at that railway inn during his hunt for Gennadi Orlov. Now the real hard core fans of Schettler’s many time travel books will be in for a treat. Before he first penned the breakthrough novel Kirov, Schettler wrote a quintet of time travel novels he calls the “Meridian Series,” named after the series opener by that name, which won the Silver Medal for Science Fiction “Book of the Year” in Forward Magazine’s prestigious annual competition. That book grew into a trilogy with Nexus Point and Touchstone, then finally extended to two more novels, the last of which was Golem 7,
a time travel naval fiction that featured an alternate history recounting of the hunt for the Bismarck.
The Meridian Series was all about a team of researchers and scientists operating out of the Lawrence Berkeley Labs, and involved in the design and testing of a machine they called “the Arch” that plays with the universe on the quantum level, and enables travel in time. That series saw the author taking us to the deserts of Syria and Jordan with Lawrence of Arabia, to the Crusades, then to Egypt at the time of Napoleon’s invasion there, and finally to the famous battle of Tours where Charles Martel faced down the Moors to save Europe and Christendom from being overrun. The last volume was Golem 7,
the naval tale that formed the warp and weave in Schettler’s imagination that eventually led him to write Kirov, simply because he still had “the naval bug” after
finishing the Meridian Series.
Thank god for that!
Now, 16 volumes later in a series of books that has kept the hard core fans
and “crew” of Kirov waiting for each new release, Mister Schettler begins the grand unification of both his time travel universes. Yes Meridian fans, that tantalizing mystery hook that was left at the end of Golem 7 will be revealed here in the Kirov Series through a plot line the author calls the mystery of the “Keyholders.” In fact, in Chapter 17 of Paradox Hour,
the author presents a slightly revised version of a scene from Golem 7 to introduce a new historical character, then in chapter 18, he reprises segments of the final epilogue in the Meridian Series,
where the mystery of that key found in the base of the Selene Horse aboard the Battleship Rodney was first introduced. That battleship, and the strange, though completely historical mission Rodney was on in carrying a store of gold bullion and the Elgin Marbles to safety in Boston, becomes the focus of the action here in Paradox Hour, as it was in the novel Golem 7,
though its fate is completely different in each novel. Elena Fairchild is set on retrieving that key, and only readers of the Meridian Series really know just how it went missing, and where it may end up…
Special Announcements: And More to come!
Author John Schettler has informed us that he is also working on a "secret project," something new he is writing "between Kirov novels." At the moment, it now appears that his two existing time travel universes are about to merge, and move forward into “Season Three” of the Kirov Series. Yes, dear readers, have no fear. There are desperate hours here, but season three is coming. It is coming like the tick of a clock, persistent, inevitable, fated to make its appointed round. There is simply soooooo much
more story to be told. The eight books starting with Altered States only covered a year long period beginning June of 1940, and yes, now the real war begins. There is all the great action through 1943 and 1944 yet to come, the heart of the war. (More on this as we continue our author interview.)
Tick tock… It’s coming, the alternate history of the war that would not be complete without the crucial years from 1942 to 1944, and it’s going to be an amazing ride. While we cannot yet reveal anything that happens at the end of Paradox Hour, or even whether Kirov survives, you can bet there will be a twist in this next novel that you may not see coming. In the meantime, those who have not yet read Golem 7 would be wise to take a peek, because events first seeded in the final Meridian Series book now begin to bloom in Paradox Hour.
More news in the author interview here.