1943 ushers in a lot of new things, but the appearance of one old friend at the end of Thor’s Anvil was most welcome
Yes, Volsky is back... He was really still there all along, still commanding the ship that vanished in the Atlantic, the original Kirov.
But men start disappearing on that ship.
They do, and earlier I penned a scene where Volsky calls Rodenko to his quarters to warn him, or prepare him. The Admiral was feeling that he might be next,
even as he mourned the loss of Fedorov. We all know where Fedorov turned up, right on the bridge of Kirov in the second coming, all his memories intact from the first loop. We’ve also seen how Orlov has “awakened” to those same memories. Now it happens to Volsky.
How does the Admiral on the ship get to Kazan?
He doesn’t, at least no physically. That version of Volsky, the original, disappears there, just as he warned Rodenko. When Kazan returns home, Gromyko is in a new time line when he meets with Kamenski, and in that time line another Volsky exists. The details are handled in this next book, but suffice it to say that the body of one man receives the memories of another, and together they serve to resurrect old Papa Volsky.
Was this planned or an impulsive development.
It was planned, and well foreshadowed. Its one of the reasons I have left the original Kirov in that fog. In fact, all the segments involving Tovey having these nagging recollections he can’t quite grasp are a part of this, as is the evidence found by Turing.
So do we have another replay setting up here, with Volsky and Gromyko on Kazan stalking Kirov?
That is a possibility, but it will depend on how both Fedorov and Karpov react to the situation. I’ll have to leave that explanation alone here, as it is
a major segment of this upcoming book.
So this one is all Pacific?
Correct. That’s why I preempted the Argos Fire Battle Book with Roll of Thunder and then Sea of Fire. Those two present the entire Pacific subplot from Pearl Harbor to the opening of this next book, 1943.
What is the main action here?
Fiji, or specifically, Viti Levu. Thats the “Guadalcanal” of this campaign, but now Nimitz pulls out the Marines and MacArthur takes over the
ground game on Viti Levu. This gives the Navy two good divisions in 1st and 2nd Marines to begin other offensive operations against the New Hebrides, specifically Efate, which is an
island Admiral King wanted from early on. Most of the ground action is on Viti Levu, but we do get some other operations here as well, and then all the naval duels that accompany that
campaign. Halsey realizes he can’t just go looking for trouble with the Kido Butai. Now he has to cover amphibious landings and troop deployments, and also protect supply convoys.
So what is Karpov up to on Kirov?
He coming south, and also looking for trouble. His plan is to try and shake the enemy up by making a surprise attack on Truk, the HQ of Combined Fleet.
True, but he’s aboard Kirov. That action is covered, but then both he and Fedorov learn of Volsky’s return, and the story has to deal with
that, especially considering why Kazan was sent back in the first place. So there is a lot of main character interaction in the last third of this novel.
What else is new in this one?
The hardware. You’ll see the activation of Phase II of Japan’s Shadow Fleet conversions. That puts a bunch of “ships that never were”
into the game, mostly battlecarrier hybrids at various levels. Some are built on cruiser hulls, like Gozo and Mezu before they were sunk. Others are built on larger hulls, but that is all
covered in this volume. I also start introducing new planes--some just historical upgrades, others new ideas or advanced designs that were overlooked and did not really get into the war.
I spent a while laying out the Japanese Cherry Blossom Okha program in the last book, and that will continue development. Soon the jet engines will start to appear, though not just yet.
Do Tojo and Emperor Hirohito find out about Kirov and Takami?
That’s coming. That little secret simply can’t be kept in the bag for long. Naval Chief Nagano gets curious, and we already know that Nishimura at
Singapore has been spying for Tojo. So things are heating up in terms of this awareness of just where these wonder weapons come from. There’s more of that in 1943.
Any hints about where we’re going next?
Back to North Africa. Patton is fuming to get an offensive going, waiting on Monty and the Winter rains. But they will team up in the next book, Lions at Dawn. Then we’ll have more on the other side in Libya as Rommel defends Tripolitania against O’Connor.
What ever happened to the Argos Fire Battle Book?
That thread is developing. There is a small segment at the very end of 1943 that touches on it, and there will be more in Lions at Dawn when Fairchild sends the Argonauts into St. Michael’s Cave under Gibraltar. I’ll probably release Argos Fire right before I go ballistic with that continuing plot line, which also brings back Duke Elvington and the Keyholder’s Saga. So there a lot of story yet to be told.
I can’t wait! Thanks John.