Things have changed. The great Time War between the two great super-powers has been infiltrated by a third party, possibly even a fourth. Who it is, neither the Germans nor the Russians know. Only that he’s clever and elusive. Oh, and his name. Kolya.
Or are Kolya and the mischievous Reichenau the same?
Otto, however, is concerned only with being with Katerina, and, relying on his best friend Ernst to cover for him, they set out on a long journey across northern Russia, to be in Moscow – then a small trading post –before the snows fall.
Only things don’t go well. Otto makes mistakes that cause ripples in Time. And, at an awful little place called Krasnogorsk, Otto and Katerina encounter their alternate selves, their throats cut, their pale corpses laid out in a handcart. Dead.
Returning to their base in Time – Four-Oh – Otto, for the first time ever, begs Master Hecht to let him return and save Katerina, but Hecht has other priorities, the first of which is to go to Poltava, where the Russians are about to lose the great battle there and throw history into disarray.
Increasingly Otto finds himself fighting the newcomer, Kolya, more often, in fact, than the Russians. Only when Otto finally thinks he’ll get to see his darling girl again, he is sent to 1950s California, where Kolya is believed to be operating. There he meets science fiction writer Phil Dick, to whom the notion of Time Travel is meat and drink, who helps him find a way to escape the ‘loop’ that leads to Krasnogorsk.
Otto does find peace, however, in the estate he buys in 13th century Novgorod – Cherdiechnost – which he develops on a humane basis. It is his haven, and it is there he has his five beautiful daughters. And it is Cherdiechnost and his love for all things Russian, that leads to the great peace between the two powers. Only right then – when things are going so well – Kolya strikes again and kidnaps Otto’s girls – all six of them, Katerina included, and is tricked into jumping into a cul-de-sac of Time. Trapped forever.