Commander of the Red Banner Northern Fleet, Volsky leads Kirov out during a time of heightened tensions for live fire exercises in the Norwegian Sea. In his middle 60s, Volsky is much loved by the crew, who see him as a father figure and have come to call him “Papa Volsky,” or “King of the Northern Seas.”
A good natured and reasonable man, Volsky’s experience and wisdom guides the younger officers through the crisis they face, though he is plagued by
medical issues, and wounds suffered in combat. Yet worse then these is the deception and rebellion of his senior Captain, Vladimir Karpov, who attempts to
impose his hard line views and seize control of the ship.
Volsky serves as a moderating influence in time of crisis, and the final arbiter of authority in the chain of command. He eventually
seeks accommodation with the Royal Navy, becoming Britain’s ally in Season 2 in an effort to redress some of the catastrophic damage the ship has done to
the history, and possibly avert the war in 2021.
is a middle aged ex-oil company man who joined the navy and used his ruthless corporate ambition to rise to a position as Captain of the battlecruiser Kirov.
Shunned and feared by many, Karpov battles his own inner demons, while resenting higher authority that opposes his hard line views on how the ship’s
power should be used in combat.
Karpov sees the crisis as the perfect opportunity to redress the wrongs of history, and better Russia’s position in later years with a decisive
intervention during WWII. In pushing this line, he comes into conflict with Admiral Volsky and other officers, seeking to undermine them and eventually to
seize control of the ship.
After a brief redemption, he reverts to his old ways, and causes much chaos and harm with his ceaseless ambition. Karpov remains a
prominent character throughout the series, a fallen angel who again rises to a position of significant power and influence, particularly in the Altered States segment of the tale, where Karpov soon takes his limitless ambition to the wilds of Siberia.
A young Lieutenant of 28 years, Fedorov begins as the Ship’s Navigator. Being a well educated history buff and student of WWII, Fedorov is instrumental in
discovering what has happened to the ship and convincing the other senior officers of the reality they now face.
After Karpov’s rebellion, Fedorov is promoted first to Starpom (XO) and then to Captain as he forges a strong coalition with Admiral Volsky .A man of
conscience and with a strong moral center, Fedorov struggles to understand the mystery of time travel itself, and deeply ponders the consequences of their
actions in the past. Yet he is preyed upon by feelings of remorse for all the damage the ship has caused to his beloved history, and comes to see himself as
Working closely with Director Pavel Kamenski, he strives to interpret what is happening to the ship in a fateful hour when they face
the ravaging hand of paradox. Then, in a startling development when that time comes, he is propelled into the drama on the bridge again in the twisted season 3
Chief of Ship’s Operations, Orlov is a sullen, surly and hard disciplinarian that Karpov recruits to his camp in his attempt to take command. He suffers
the consequences of this, and remains bitter towards Karpov, feeling he was deceived by the man and positioned to take the blame.
Orlov’s ill will leads him to jump ship at one point in the series, seeking to use his knowledge of future history for personal gain. He soon becomes
obsessed in an effort to protect members of his family tree, which prompts Fedorov to launch a long and involved scheme aimed at finding him and
returning him safely to his own time.
With more street sense than common sense, Orlov is a man ruled by his temper, though in later volumes he is slowly re-integrated to
the command structure beneath Volsky. Yet he remains an unpredictable force, and his actions often lead the story in most unexpected directions.
Senior Lieutenant Gregori Rodenko is Chief of Radar and sensor operations, a highly skilled officer, with an even temper and reasoned nature. His calm nature,
level head, and moderating influence sets a strong example for the junior officers and midshipmen on the bridge.
A minor character in the early volumes, Rodenko eventually rises to the position of Starpom (XO) under Fedorov, and also under Karpov when the ship sorties in
the Pacific. As such he eventually comes to strongly question Karpov’s actions, sensing his lust for power as aberrant, and eventually opposes Karpov in
a critical moment on the bridge when the ship is in battle.
Rodenko is eventually integrated into a triumvirate of senior officers under Volsky, and serves as a skilled and loyal officer in time of crisis. He remains a
slowly developing character throughout the series.
Ship’s Physician, Dr. Zolkin is actually 3rd in the chain of command on the ship, though not involved in daily operations. A healer in every respect,
Zolkin tends to both the physical and psychological needs of the other officer’s and crew.
A close personal friend of Admiral Volsky, Zolkin is immediately drawn into the mystery of Kirov’s displacement when Volsky seeks his advice. He later stands in strong support of the Admiral, helping the ship weather the long simmering crisis of command.
Fedorov often seeks the council of Zolkin, appreciating his reason, wisdom, and insight, as well as his strong moral courage. At times his humor and moderating
influence are a great aid to the others, and his courage in opposing Karpov is decisive at a critical moment on the bridge later in the series, for which he
pays a tangible physical price.
Zolkin remains an active character throughout the series.
Chief Engineer Yuri Dobrynin is head of the ship’s vital reactor plant, and first rises from the gallery of minor characters when he begins to report
strange flux events in the ship’s reactors.
A student of physics, thermodynamics and classical music, Dobrynin has an intimate relationship with the equipment he operates, and a way of hearing any
malfunction or irregularity which becomes essential to the ship’s survival.
Dobrynin is instrumental in helping the other senior officers discover how the ship is moving in time, and uses his uncanny sixth
sense to help control these shifts.He also delivers a startling analysis of an object discovered by Orlov on a mission to Siberia, and his close inspection of
“The Devil’s Teardrop” figures heavily in his own personal fate.
Sergeant Kandimir Troyak is a grizzled tough noncom and leader of the ship’s 20 man contingent of the elite Marines known as Russia’s “Black
Death.” Born in the Chukchi Penninsula of Siberia, Troyak is the most intimidating man on the ship, a true warrior in every respect, yet being a man of
few words, he is not one to involve himself in ship’s politics.
Physically strong and iron willed, not even the surly brawn of Chief Orlov can match that of Troyak, and eventually the Sergeant is instrumental in deciding the
outcome of the rising conflict between the other senior officers. Yet Troyak himself has no personal ambition, serving loyally within any chain of command to
which he is assigned.
Troyak also leads several special operations missions in the hunt for Orlov, and later in campaigns to North Africa and Syria. The
Sergeant’s character is often used to present elements of land campaigns and battles where the ship’s officers are attempting to influence events
in the history.
First appearing as a quiet figure in book 4, Kamenski is soon revealed to be the ex Deputy Director of the KGB. Initially cast as an antagonist, he becomes a
deeply layered character, wreathed in mystery.
Kamenski soon allies himself with Admiral Volsky, joining the ship in its mission to try and safely extract Kirov to a point in history where it can cause no further damage. As the long series progresses, Kamenski’s character is used as a sounding board by the Admiral and Fedorov, particularly in regards to his insights into the nature of time, and the secret involvement of the Soviet Government in that area in decades past.
Kamenski forges a strong relationship with Fedorov, serving to challenge his thinking and guide him as he struggles to navigate the
waters of time. Yet with each novel, a deeper layer of mystery surrounds him, and the ex KGB man turns out to have dimensions that no one ever expected.
Known as the man with the best ears in the fleet, Lieutenant Tasarov is the Chief Sonar operator aboard the ship. His is a quiet, almost whimsical character at
times, lost beneath his headphones and secretly listening to music and playing games with his good friend Isaak Nikolin.
Yet in combat, those ears prove their worth many times, as Kirov faces threats beneath the sea as well. At one point, his skills inadvertently threaten the success of a critical mission, when it is feared he might hear and report on another friendly ship, not realizing its vital quest would then be exposed.
Tasarov has several moments in the limelight, not only in combat, but in the simmering conflict between Karpov and the other senior
officers. He also is one of the first to hear and recognize a strange, unaccountable sound that Fedorov fears is the harbinger of paradox in Book 16, and
Tasarov’s fate is a key component of that dire outcome.
Lieutenant Isaak Nikolin is a young, likable junior bridge officer in charge of ship’s communications. As a bilingual speaker of English, he is often used
as an interpreter when the other senior officers eventually begin to have face to face interactions with historical figures of the Royal Navy. Nikolin learns
far more than he ever expected, and is often seen to accompany either Volsky or Fedorov on away missions because of his language skills.
Nikolin is also instrumental in discovering the secret mission aimed at frustrating the ambitions of Captain Karpov, and his warning allows the other officers
aboard Kirov to stand against Karpov at a critical moment in Book 8.
Best friends with Sonarman Tasarov, Nikolin is essential in helping Fedorov discover the peculiar fate that besets the ship as they
approach the hour of paradox in book 16, and he becomes a quiet conspirator in Fedorov’s effort to retake control of the ship in the opening of season 3.
Lieutenant Viktor Samsonov is chief of the Command Information Center for ship’s combat. As such, he serves as the strong right arm in battle, with
reflexive skill that is almost mechanical at times.
A minor character in most respects, Samsonov rises in one critical moment in opposition to Karpov, which is crucial to the outcome of that conflict in book 8, Armageddon.
Otherwise, he serves loyally at his post, speaks little, and is eager to engage any enemy the ship encounters by sea or air.
In some ways Samsonov is a thematic human symbol of the ship itself.
Appearing mid-series as Captain of the Russian submarine Kazan, Gromyko is a highly skilled submariner, known as “the Matador” for his expert
tactics in undersea warfare.
When war breaks out in 2021, Gromyko’s boat sorties with the Red Banner Pacific Fleet. When Kirov goes missing, he is recruited by Admiral Volsky, then at Naval HQ Fokino, to mount a mission to discover the whereabouts of the ship.
After a tense chase when Kazan is hunted by a combined Japanese and American ASW group, he is instrumental in the outcome of the mission to retake Kirov in 1908. Rod-25, the source of the ship’s time displacement, is installed on Kazan,
leading to some very unexpected events which soon draw Gromyko into the deepening web of the story.
Gromyko and Kazan prove to be a most useful asset for Admiral Volsky when Kirov battles in the Med and Atlantic against powerful Axis fleets.
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST! Get all the latest news
on the Kirov Series, and all John’s other writing projects, along with special offers with promotional discounts!
List subscribers will get advance notice for each new release, sneak previews, and specials.
So sign aboard, and join the crew of the longest running Alternate History epic ever written!