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ABOUT KIROV IX: The Saga Continues...


ABOUT: Kirov IX - Altered States

Cover-Altered-States-400Altered States
is at once a continuation of the long Kirov Saga and a beginning of a new alternate history naval epic depicting the naval war in the West beginning in 1940. It was born, or I should say  reborn when, at the end of Volume 8 in the series, the author invited readers to vote on their favorites among five new book proposals. It was not surprising that Altered States was the top vote getter, with the number two spot going to the alternate history naval epic Hindenburg. To please as many readers as possible , the author realized that everything he was doing in Hindenburg would fit deftly into the altered reality the officers and crew of Kirov now encounter as they return for this encore performance.

As such, while readers and fans of the series familiar with the characters will feel right at home here, it is also a viable entry point for new readers. All they have to understand is that the basic premise of all nine volumes in the series revolves on the sudden accidental displacement in time of the Russian battlecruiser Kirov, moving from the year 2021 to find itself 80 years in the past in the midst of WWII. If you haven’t read the earlier volumes the depth of your understanding as to how the ship moved in time, the slow discovery of the mystery that has opened the doorway to the  past, and your general knowledge of the principle characters will not be anywhere as developed as a full series reader, (and you’ll miss out on some of the best naval fiction in decades here), but you can still enjoy this tale by jumping in here. You would be wisest to at least begin by reading book one in the series, where most of the characterization for all the principle characters occurs so you can understand the motivations that lead to the decision they must now make in this volume.

Altered States also introduces yet another “spin” to the series that saw a climatic end in 1908 when Kazan manages to initiate a time shift, the deliberate deus ex machina that has been used at the end of many of the series volumes by the author in order to move the ship to the next period in time for the story to continue. Each new volume then begins where the last left off, with the ship in a new time and with a new set of challenges. Along the way the series treats us to some great naval fiction as Kirov battles the Royal Navy, Regina Marina, The Imperial Japanese Navy (in two eras) and the  mighty United States Navy, (also in two eras), with action spanning the decades from 1908 to 2021. This time, however, while using the new control rods from the same batch as Rod-25, something goes wrong, and Kirov remains trapped in the 1940s, a year before the ship first appeared in  Book I of the series, which is a matter of some concern to the principle characters.

Noticeably absent here is the notorious Vladimir Karpov, the tormented and dynamic Captain that led the ship through its many battles in the earlier volumes, but all the other characters you have come to know are back after that stirring curtain call in the HD video trailer for this book. Something tells me there is yet a mystery surrounding Karpov that has not been revealed, but we will just have to wait and see as the series progresses. Without his dark opposition, the atmosphere on the ship is now much more controlled and reasoned with the triumvirate of Volsky, Fedorov and Rodenko, who all seem to be in accord as they sort through this latest challenge.

The novel begins just where it left off in Armageddon, aboard Kirov in six consecutive chapters, culminating in a section aptly entitled “The Spin” where the author works out a clever way to move the ship where he proposes to really get this alternate history of the war at sea underway. For the moment, at least, Captain Gromyko and Kazan have moved to parts unknown with Rod-25, and the crew of Kirov is left holding the bag in 1940 when their attempted time shift goes awry. Kazan will be back as the series progresses, says the  author, but not in this first volume of the Altered States epic.

In the opening phases the crew of Kirov must again discover what happened in the shift, where they are in time and space now, and what they propose to do about it. The novel then moves to a three chapter “point of divergence” in the naval war at sea that occurs partly by happenstance and partly due to the diligence and courage of a new historical  character, Lieutenant Commander  Christopher Wells of HMS Glorious. From this point on, the action in Altered States holds to the straight and narrow, using the same formula that has made these novels so popular with a hard core group of alternate history and naval fiction fans. The narrative alternates between segments aboard Kirov, and then moves to the perspective of the Royal Navy and Kriegsmarine to set the table for the major naval operation occurring in this volume. In addition to finding that their homeland, Mother Russia, is now fragmented into three states, all in conflict, the  main characters aboard Kirov also discover that the Germans have adopted their Plan Z naval building program in 1936 and so they have a much more powerful navy to contest the vital sea lanes with the Royal Navy…and anyone else that happens along.

Now the officers aboard Kirov must decide what, if anything, to do about their situation, and which side to support if they cannot remain neutral. Admiral Tovey is back and haunted by a strange feeling of Déjà vu, joined by about ten other characters developed from the British side and balanced with at least ten new German characters from Admirals Raeder and Donitz down through the Kapitans of all their major ships. The one naval force Kirov has yet to fully engage, the Kriegsmarine, is now in for that same initial shock and awe that the ship inflicts upon the unsuspecting in the 1940s, and it makes for some engaging and delightful reading, even this deep in the series.

The interface between Kirov’s key players and the historical characters is all part of the magic in this series. We saw Admiral Tovey, Alan Turing and others bemused and confounded by the mysterious and deadly raider the British came to call Geronimo. Then the hapless Italians ran afoul of Kirov in the Med, and the British had yet another run in Volume II. The Japanese from Yamamoto to Hara to Togo were given fits, and the Americans from Ziggy Sprague and Admiral Halsey in the 1940s to Captain Tanner in 2021 all stepped into the ring against the undisputed champion, and it all just worked, creating some truly compelling and riveting reading. Now the Germans step up to the challenge posed by this ship with some truly awesome warships.

Here you will find all the legendary ships that fought and died in the great struggle at sea: Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Bismarck, Tirpitz, and loads of newcomers to the German order of battle. The British have not been overlooked, as they have built one of the four planned G3 battlecruisers, HMS Invincible, and Tovey has made it his flagship here. Now the story leads us to many of those those intriguing “what ifs” that war gamers have explored and debated for decades. What if these ships had been built by both sides? What if the Germans had waited until they had both Bismarck and Tirpitz together before mounting a major breakout attempt? What if the German carrier Graf Zeppelin had been completed with a strong air wing and accompanied key German raiders to sea? You’ll find out here in this volume, just the first of many interesting twists in the history as told by both a master story teller and someone intimately familiar with the history itself, and therefore competent to rule on the outcome here as the Kriegsmarine squares off against the Royal Navy.

The author was a professional war game designer long before he wrote Kirov, and the story is riveted with historical accuracy, and therefore presents some very plausible outcomes to the twists and turns in the history as it unfolds here. Every change seems logical, as if it all could have easily happened that way, and the more you really know about the history the more you will appreciate the skill with which it is played with here by the author. The positions of the ships at the outset, and the men that served on them are all accurate to a T, and it will take a real expert to spot the clever “points of divergence” where the author begins to exercise his own poetic license and change things. It all rings true, right down to sun and moon data and weather for all the days and locations depicted, just a small part of the exhaustive research that goes into these novels. As with all the earlier books, you’ll meet the historical characters here and see things through their eyes with great dialogue in the Flag plotting rooms and the internal muse of men like Tovey as they struggle with their own wartime roles…and then comes the wild card—Kirov.

This book is more like the first three volumes in the amazing opening trilogy of the series, and it promises much more to come as the war heats up. All the subplots that were part of the 9 Days Falling trilogy in the middle rounds of the series have been put to bed for now, and it is just back to Kirov and the history. As such, the story delivers, a truly satisfying naval adventure in a world that is chillingly real, utterly convincing, yet…altered, the broken mirror of fate as a consequence for all the sins of intervention committed by the ship and crew in the previsions volumes. Kirov now enters a world of its own making, and it appears that the challenge of trying to mend it and restore the history to what it was has now slipped from the realm of any possibility. And so, being forced to sleep in the bed they made, the ship sets sail again at the outset of the great war at sea…With Moskit IIs and P-400s enough to dazzle you yet again.

Like the seemingly endless “Star Trek” series, the Kirov Saga continues to have amazing life and energy in Altered States, a blending of the old and familiar with a new and exciting spin, the first of a new trilogy to become part of the overall saga. (see diagram below). Look for Altered States to make its debut in the Amazon Kindle store on or before December 1st, just in time to fill your stocking this season! Curl up with some brandy and egg nog and disappear from the world of shopping malls and TV commercials…and smell the sea.

--D. Chapman

SHIP ROSTER: Altered States

Battlecruiser Kirov II
- Adm Leonid Volsky
SGN Kazan - Cpt Grymyko


British Royal  Navy:

Adm Tovey – BC Invincible, (G3 Class) -  Commander, Home Fleet
LTC  Wells - CV Glorious, BC Invincible
Lt Woodfield – CV Glorious
Cpt D’Oyly-Hughes – CV Glorious
Cdr Villers – BC Invincible
Cpt Bennett - BC Invincible
Adm Holland – BC Hood
Cpt Glennie – BC Hood
Cpt Partdrige (FAA) – CV Ark Royal
FLt Casson – CV Ark Royal
Cpt Brind – Chief Of Staff, Home Fleet
Cpt Madden - CL Birmingham

Other Royal Navy Ships:

CV Illustrious
BB Nelson
BB Rodney
BC Renown
BC Repulse
CA Devonshire
CA Sussex
CL Birmingham
CL Manchester
Destroyer Squadrons

Mentioned but working out:

BB Prince Of Wales


GrossAdm Raeder
Adm Doenitz
Kpt (KzS) Lindemann – Bismarck
Kpt Topp – Tirpitz
Kpt Hoffmann – Scharnhorst
Kpt Böhmer – Graf Zeppelin
Htmn Ritter – Graf Zeppelin
Lt Rudel – Graf Zeppelin
Lt Huber – Scharnhorst
Lt Schubert – Scharnhorst
Kpt Fein – Gneisenau

Other Kreigsmarine Ships:

CA Hipper
CA Prinz Eugen
DD Beowulf
DD Sigfrid
DD Heimdall

Mentioned but working out:

BB Hindenburg
BB Oldenburg
BC Kaiser
CA Westfallen
CA Rhineland
CV Peter Strasser
CL Goeben


Admiral Leonid Volsky
Captain 1st Rank Vladimir Karpov (RIP ?)
Captain 2nd Rank Anton Fedorov
Captain 2nd Rank Dmitri Zolkin Ship’s Physician
Chief of Operations - Gennadi Orlov

Captain Lieutenant Grigori Rodenko - Radar  & Sensors
Lt.Victor Samsonov - Combat Systems
Lt. Alexi Tasarov - Sonar & ASW Ops
Jr. Lieutenant Isaak Nikolin - Communications
Sgt Kandemir Troyak - Marine Contingent
Cprl Zykov, Marine Detachment
Chief Eng Dobrynin - Propulsion Systems
Captain Gromyko - SGN Kazan

Other Characters:

Pavel Kamenski, Deputy Director of th KGB (Ret)
Cpt Ivan Volkov - Orenburg Federation

Sergie Kirov - Soviet Russia

Altered States ~ Table of Contents
By John Schettler

Part I – Altered States
Part II – The Spin
Part III – Glorious
Part IV – Resurrection
Part V – Encounters
Part VI – Deja Vu
Part VII – Intervention
Part VIII – Ride of the Valkyries
Part IX – Altmark
Part X – Shadow of Death
Part XI –  War Councils
Part XII – The Witching Hour

The Saga Continues...

After learning the Kirov Series might end in book 8, readers and fans wrote to the author and voted in the weekly blog poll to demand more. The top two book proposals Altered States and Hindenburg have therefore been rolled into one to form the subject matter of a continuation of the story, under the title Altered States. The author has now promised a trilogy in this segment of the story, and the chart below shows how it integrates into the overall story, with Book 8: Armageddon becoming the “bridge novel” that joins the 9 Days Falling trilogy to the new Altered States trilogy.

Altered States consists of 3 books and continues in the bridge novel Three Kings, which links it to the next series trilogy starting in book 13, Grand Alliance.












Kirov Trilogy

Bridge Novel

9 Days Falling Trilogy

Bridge Novel

Altered States Trilogy


Kirov II

Kirov III

Men Of War

9 Days Falling

Fallen Angels

Devil’s Garden


Altered States














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