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Maps Kirov Reviews


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A continuing Interview with John Schettler - Author Of the Kirov series novels.

Alright. So we’ve recovered from the loss of Volsky… some of us. Knight’s Move had quite a few surprises, and I suppose some of that content involving Admiral Knight’s surprise gift to DD-Knight is going to cause a little mystery.
Or mayhem. We all know the Devil’s Teardrop has some rather amazing capabilities, and I have already included a scene where the USS Knight pulls a disappearing act, at least  momentarily. Where it goes, and what it finds will remain the mystery, but there may be mayhem ahead as well, and I just can’t say when at this point. It’s one of those things I keep in my pocket to be used when the time is right.

What about the Keyholder mystery? That got talked up a lot in Paradox Hour, but then receded to the background.
Yes, that is true. I’ve just had a lot of WWII to cover, and so after I got the two Karpovs sorted out, it was on to Pearl Harbor, Operation Crusader, the Drive on Moscow and all that drama. Argos Fire has also moved to a quieter place in the story line, though that will soon change. What I try to do is keep a balance of the mystery elements, which all dovetail into the time travel aspect of the series, and the combat elements, which is the telling of this alternate history. The Keyholder mystery is at the root and stem of the time travel crisis that was first introduced in Elena Fairchild’s fears, and then largely explained by Professor Dorland.

You mean the Grand Finality thing?
Yes. What we have come to see is that the integrity of time has now become unstable. The whole continuum, at least for good old planet earth, is like a broken windshield, cracked but still holding together. The stone that hit it was the Tunguska Event, and the fractures in the glass are danger zones where things can slip and move from one time to another. Some have been identified and secured. Hence the keys and the mysterious men who own them. Others were not identified yet by the key makers, like Ilanskiy.

The key makers?
Someone had to engineer them, and the gateways where they permit access to a fissure in time. We have yet to meet them, but that will be part of the oncoming story down the road. What we are seeing now, however, is the growing instability of time, and things falling through the cracks. Kirov’s interventions, which ended up challenging time with a Paradox, have all contributed to the worsening state of affairs. It remains to be seen if the situation can be salvaged, or the Grand Finality avoided. In the  meantime, those worsening effects led us to and through some very interesting story lines, as we saw with the little discovery made by Kapitan Heinrich and Kaiser Wilhelm & company.

Is this alternate time line replacing the events we’ve already lived through in 1942 from Season 1?
In one respect yes. But in season 1 Kirov was on the same meridian of time that led to the world and moment it came from. In Season 2, the ship moved to an altered meridian, and it’s been there ever since June of 1940.  We have already seen what happened when the ship encountered its first intervention period in July-Aug 1941. That was what Paradox Hour was all about at the conclusion of Season 2.  Since that time the newly arrived ship has been steaming through time where it never traveled before. Kirov vanished in August of 1941 in Book 1, and then reappeared a year later in August of 1942. So there is no history to rewrite at the moment, at least insofar as the ship’s actions are concerned, even though we have seen the history itself is quite different. So Kirov is not presently overwriting any event it previously lived. It won’t do so until August of 1942, so this period is “safe” from possible paradox.

Then what happens come August 1942?
A good question. Kirov was supposed to arrive again from the future, but that arrival depends on it first vanishing in August of 1941. It did not vanish, and that may make all the difference. I suppose we will have to wait and see. Eventually we will pass the time, for example, where Orlov first jumped ship after Operation Pedestal, or any of those other engagements the ship had prior to that. There may be effects, but we will have to see where the story leads us at that time.

OK, so where else will it lead us in Turning Point?
That naval chase has to get some resolution, at least in part, and I’ll present that in this novel. Then I have to show you the Russian counteroffensive Zhukov finally managed to put together, and after that it’s off to the Pacific.

That theater is really engaging.
I agree, because it is inherently a naval conflict, which was at the foundation of the series. It’s a campaign that will depend entirely on control of the seas.

Yet with Kirov weighing in on the side of the Allies, the Japanese seem doomed, even if they did hit Pearl Harbor harder this time.
One could say that  the outcome of that war with the United States was inevitable. But there are several factors weighing in Japan’s favor at this point. To begin with, their navy is probably 25% stronger than the historical fleet. They have the Tosa, and other carriers already building, and they have a pair of new hybrid carriers, two new fast battleships, and a few other changes.

But Kirov trumps everything. Look what Karpov did to the Hiryu.

A Moskit II will really ruin your day on an aircraft carrier loaded for bear as Hiryu was. But wait and see. Developments are afoot that will address the question you raise. I just can’t discuss them until I get them to the readers in this volume.

What happens next in the Canary Islands battle?
That campaign has reached a resting point. The naval conflict off Fuerteventura that took the life of our favorite Admiral also cleaned house on both active navies. Since that campaign relied on naval supremacy to proceed, the Germans have “issues.” Raeder has realized what logistics mean to the projection of naval power at sea. He muses on that, and on the efficacy of the carriers he never believed in at the outset  of the war, and he is taking steps to address that. Thus far, the Germans have been able to occupy three of the Canary Islands, but the British still hold the other four. Tenerife and La Palma are the  two they really must hold, and they have the troops at home, and the ships to move them to do so. Meanwhile, the French Navy has taken a real beating, and they just lost Dunkerque on top of all the other ships they lost in these many engagements. All the big ships are under repair now. It’s up to cruisers and destroyers to decide the issue. Then, in the middle of this. Raeder gets news of what Kaiser Wilhelm has found in the South Atlantic.

That was damn good, the whole Project Argus segment was just riveting.
And it was great fun to dig up that research and thread it all into the story. There will be many, many repercussions from this. It is a  far more dangerous contamination of the meridian than the loss of that RPG in Palmyra.

I’d certainly agree with that. Does this mean the Germans will get the bomb first?
They have to get one of those X-17s home safe to do that, and then understand what they have. But there is more to this than the physical booty Kapitan Heinrich gets his hands on from the Norton Sound.

In what sense?
Information. Up until now, the Germans do not know the true origins of Kirov, the “naval Rockets,” or of those awesome new British heavy tanks in the desert. But Heinrich is carrying a brief with all the documents he recovered from the Norton Sound, including that Life Magazine he shared with Kapitan Detmers.

Then the Germans will know what has happened. Hitler will learn this. Didn’t he already know about it from Volkov?
No. Volkov has not revealed his true identity to the Germans, or the identity of Kirov itself.

So something shocking this way comes.
That is putting it mildly. And there will be events in the Pacific soon that will shake every bough on the tree.

Karpov’s Plan 7?
More than that. Plan 7 is on hold for a time, as the ice conditions in March do not permit the Siberians to proceed against Sakhalin Island yet, unless they try to airlift everything, which gives them limited combat power on the ground. That battle is coming, but remember, the Japanese have a score to settle after Kirov roughed up Mutsu and Chikuma. The developments that take place in the Pacific next in Turning Point are major, and much in line with the basic premise that I started in Book 1 to launch the series. So there will be fireworks ahead in the Pacific soon, and some really interesting action there as the Japanese challenge Karpov and Kirov.

I’ll be one of the first to find out! OK, to close out this segment, what’s the next book?

Steel Reign, and it will have a double meaning as many of my titles do. I’ll try to write up where I think the story is going next at the end of this volume, but those blurbs should only be taken as a general road map of what may be ahead. As readers will see in this volume, some things I thought I would cover never arise, and other things I never expected take center stage. The story has a life, and a mind of its own at times, and things arise from my unconscious mind as I mull all this through. That’s what I love about the process. There’s always more, and I can’t wait to hit the word processor in January and get started on the next book. There are major battles to be fought dead ahead. Manstein is given the go ahead for his Volga Offensive, and the Allies plan their first joint US/British operation in the West. In the meantime, Karpov faces an unexpected challenge in the Pacific. Exciting stuff ahead, and it will take these last two volumes of Season 3 to finish 1942.

Will there be a Season 4?
Yes, I’m taking the story right through the war, and Season 4 will be all the action from 1943, yet let’s see where this alternate history takes us over the next few volumes to get a better look at what we’ll be looking at in 1943.

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