The dramatic events of 1944 now wrench the long alternate history of WWII with two unexpected twists. First, the plot to
assassinate Hitler has, quite literally, stumbled into this history as a success. Based on an earlier real plot where a bomb was secreted aboard Hitler’s plane (in a gift box of
spirits), this time a case of wine becomes the Trojan horse. Though it fails to detonate as planned while Hitler is aloft, we learn that the trigger actually fired but became
unaccountably stuck. Later, when Hitler asks an aide to bring him the case of wine, the man stumbles, drops the awkward case of wine, and kaboom—the Führer’s long reign of
terror comes to an unseemly end. The repercussions of this unexpected turn of events are many, as Himmler uses his Nordland SS Division in Berlin to seize all the radio, news and governmental offices, and begins rounding up suspected plotters with the Gestapo. Fearing the worst, Goring goes into hiding, but at OKW, General Zeitzler gains the backing of the General Staff and finds his backbone, warning Himmler on the telephone that should any Army officers be arrested or executed, there would be severe repercussions.
The stage is now set for a showdown between Himmler, who sees himself as the de-facto heir apparent of the Nazi Party, and the Wehrmacht,
and it has real implications because Himmler claims authority of the entire Waffen SS. In an effort to avoid a direct conflict, a civil war that would lead to utter disaster within
Germany, a meeting is called in the Eagle’s nest, with all sides, the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, SS and Kriegsmarine, agreeing to attend.
other major development concluding volume 36 was the meeting in Leningrad where Volkov attempts, one final time, to gain a favorable peace accord with Sergei Kirov’s Soviet Union.
The tense negotiations end without an agreement, and Volkov returns to his newly rebuilt airship Orenburg to fly home. Both Kirov and his trusted Intelligence Chief Berzin soon have ample reason to regret that they did not violate political niceties and simply arrest Volkov at that meeting, for hidden within the Orenburg,
Ivan Volkov has a rudimentary atomic warhead, and he delivers it to Leningrad before fleeing into the edge of a storm to make good his escape from pursuing Soviet fighters. The third
detonation of “atomics” now unhinges the entire war in the east, as we will soon see in this volume, which opens with Sergei Kirov staring at that awful mushroom cloud over
The same storm that allowed Volkov to make his attack and escape, also served to push the falling warhead east as it fell, missing the heart of
the city where all Kirov’s government offices are established. So Mironov survives yet again, only now he realizes the grave danger Volkov represents. His reaction is swift and
merciless, and has an effect on the entire war in the East, and by extension the campaign in the West as well.
Realizing his attack on Leningrad has enraged the
Soviets, and finally learning of Hitler’s death, Volkov diverts his airship to another secret meeting with Heinrich Himmler. There the two men discuss how to join their emerging
technologies, the Wunderwaffe programs of Germany mated with Volkov’s knowledge of how to produce the bomb. Bear in mind that Himmler still has the second small tactical warhead
that was recovered by the Kaiser Wilhelm in the South Atlantic, so now the two men count their eggs, and plan how they can best muster their resources. At the top of their agenda is how to force the Western Allies to suspend their debilitating strategic bombing campaign, which has been systematically tearing up German cities.
All this is just from the opening of this new offering. The main events here are the two military storms unleashed by the Allies, first in the Pacific with Operation Forager in the Marianas, and then on the shores of the English Channel as Operation Overlord is finally staged and mounted against Hitler’s vaunted Atlantic Wall. Each of these two campaigns gets about 12 chapters, the remaining 12 dedicated to the meetings outlined above setting the realignment of the power structure after the fall of Hitler.
The battle for the Marianas will see the carrier duel in the Philippine Sea, and landings on all three of the key islands here, Saipan, Tinian and Guam. In that final landing, the Japanese Commander sees the futility of defensive tactics that squandered so many men in costly counterattacks. A new defense is devised, much akin to that chosen by the Japanese on Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
After this segment, the dramatic showdown between OKW and Himmler at the Eagle’s Nest serves up a three chapter interlude in Part VII, “The Devil’s Bargain” before the action moves to the West Front and Operation Overlord is finally launched. In this the Author returns to his roots as a war game designer, where one of his earliest published titles was a depiction of a hypothetical landing in the Pas-de-Calais instead of at Normandy. Now we get that in prose, as the Allies storm ashore against a formidable, yet unfinished wall of steel reinforced concrete in the bunkers guarding that coast. Morgan’s plan calls for the earliest possible seizure of three key ports, Boulogne, Calais and Dunkerque, and the entire battle was simulated at the close range scale of just 500 meters per hex by the author before he wrote all the action presented here.
Finally, the author reserves the last three chapters for our old heroes Fedorov and Karpov aboard the airship Tunguska.
Their mission to Ilanskiy in an attempt to head off Tyrenkov’s intervention meets with difficulties, but they soon become the seeds of a new revelation that now dawns on the two men
when they realize they have been looking at the situation the wrong way all this time. Now they think they finally know where the real “Pushpoint” on all these events lies,
and they set their minds on making one final intervention that will solve the entire thing, righting the legion of wrongs they have perpetrated in their long journey through the history
With this mission, the author hints in his opening remarks that it will be Fedorov and Karpov that will now lead us to the place where the entire
saga will eventually end, but before that happens, all the great battles of mid to late 1944 will still unfold. Here we get the Marianas and Overlord. The next volume, entitled Breakout hints at a major operation undertaken again by General George Patton, possibly much akin to the real historical Operation Cobra.
(But the author has revealed that the title, like many others in the series, has a double meaning.)
If all that were not enough, there is one more twist in this
novel that is woven into the recounting of the Overlord campaign, and it’s a big one. To say anything more here would spoil it all, but let’s just say that the word “Wunderwaffe” gets a whole new meaning here as Germany resolves to fight on with some very dangerous new weapons.
The Tempest, available June 1 in the Amazon Kindle store at $4.99, and for all those who loved the great saga of Rommel’s
campaigns in the desert compressed in Foxbane, be advised that the 2nd volume of that series was released May 1st as Foxbane II, which take the action from Mersa Brega,
through the stand before Tripoli, and into the action in Tunisia before Rommel is recalled to other duty by Hitler.