We would tell the story from the perspective of 12 primary characters over a generation, and then turn it over the next generation of characters, increasing the primary character list to 16, some new and some returning.
The problem is, once you’ve got your theme and your idea and your characters, the question of how to best present your story comes to mind. And we didn’t think the letter writing, making every chapter a different first person perspective narrative, limiting each chapter to a separate letter, and it left out a lot of the world. So we took those characters and put them in the buildings, in the buildings of the high and the lowly, as people are ranked in warfare. The high are those like the character of Richard Daly, an American Rear Admiral with control of a fleet in the Bering Straight, and in opposition to him we put the head of the Russian Army, Naniya Leminyovna, the last living daughter of Leminya Fyodorovna, along with her sister Dlina Temkina – they had different fathers, uterinal.
Another of the characters capable of making war could be considered the primary antagonist, Dlina Temkina, a lowly advisor from the Soviet War effort in Afghanistan, and we would have her be the atagonist for Richard Daly, with her sister at the head of a rebuilt, nationalistic Russian Army, eager to fight with the West, and America, and sick of fighting by proxy, like Afghanistan, the war being one of the huge contributing factors to the fall of the Soviet Union.
To go into history within a story has been done and has been carefully done accurately, inasmuch as historical events, unique to one culture or another, are historical and there is extent historical evidence for it. Making Dlina, a former army advisor and later a judge, you have a character with an access to public political power. A teacher in the Soviet tradition, proudly Russian, behind the curtains on the Russo side, and with Richard Daly on the other, head of his naval fleet. So, we have the powerful characters, Dlina, Niya, and Richard Daly, and these characters make decisions that effect hundreds of thousands of lives. So, we wanted to add characters in Russia, who would feel the ramifications of Dlina’s plans and warmaking, and we tied them to the Russian War in Afghanistan, playing into Dlina’s youth group, Potemkin’s Children, etc., etc.
We started with five Russian characters, primary characters, with four of them in Russia: Dlina Temkina, Minister of Public Welfare, former Army advisor, historian; Naninya Leminyovna, the head of the Russian Army, the rebuilt Red Army, built in the mid-90s during the quiet Communist Restoration, General, Conqueror of Yekaterinburg; Sasha Profokiev, Dlina’s aide; Katushka Alexandrovna, a widow, widowed by the Russo-Afghan war, with four children, three daughters: Grushenka, called Shenka, a member of Dlina’s youth group Potemkin’s Children, in the future a perspective character and corporal in the New Red Army; Marie, a student at the Tchaikovsky Institute for performing arts; Angela, having failed her exams and being unable to focus remains with Katushka; and her son, five years old, much younger than her three daughters.
Her cousin Leonid, a phd student, translator, works at the Russian ligation in Washington, a main protagonist, father of his cousin Katushka’s son Alyosha. He is consulted with the conspiracy of caesars, a propaganda campaign out of Ukraine circulated through flyers in the United States, each bearing the portrait of a Roman Emperor, which sets Richard Daly’s interest around Leonid, and he sends a young colleage of his to seek him out. Leonid is later contacted by the final perspective character in America, Nadia Albanese, a journalist covering the conflict in Ukraine, who will later ask Leonid to accompany her to Kiev when the city is retaken.
In the period of the Caesar papers, the propaganda campaign, Niya redeploys the Army and puts it into practice by taking Yekaterinburg, the traditional Soviet Penal Colony hub, where the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II and his family, died in the basement at Ipatiev House (called the House of Special Purpose in history, as it fell under Local Ural Soviet Law), and after taking the city, Niya, the General/head of the Army, takes the city of Yekaterinburg and then goes out on the town in her decoy’s clothes, her bodyguards clothes, and her portrait is taken by a French national and somehow finds its way back to Richard Daly, referred to only as Uncle Bob in the perspective chapters in which he appears (Oliver Pierce, Leonid Tomishenko [mentioned]).
When the French national is found dead, he is holding a Caesar flyer with Dlina’s face printed on it with Dlina the Terrible printed on it, and the conspiracy to take the Army from Niya Leminyovna begins among the soldiers. The guard who found the body is brought into Niya’s chambers in Yekaterinburg, where he claims that he only tried to shut him up; later he will mention that someone, one of Niya’s personal guards (Igor and Alexey Orloff), ordered them to stuff a rag in his mouth. This is considered murder, and Dlina is not told until the army has already made it to Kiev, where the Ukrainian president has signed over the city mandate in Kiev – when Kiev is conquered in the second act – and then a trial is convened, to look at the practice of prosecuting murder, and convening a triumvirate between Soviet lawyers, with Dlina as the attorney general in Rostov running for public office as the Minister of Public Welfare in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, while her sister is to hold Kiev and stay at the Presidential Palace with the former Ukrainian president’s decoy, Viktor 2, who kills the Ukrainian president and takes his place just to make peace with the conquering army under Niya Leminyovna.
During the lead up to the trial, Niya is questioned about the Frenchman’s murder, and the night leading up to it, an informal hearing. She names the guard who turned the man over to Igor Orloff, two patrolmen, though Igor claims to not have met them nor to have seen the killer of the Frenchman. Before an tribunal is called Dlina goes to see Mr. Nikoloff, an old judge and former professor of law who will sit in judgment of the murder of the Frenchman as a civilian in war, protected by the Geneva conventions. Dlina sends her valet, Hesse – a former worker for the ‘split Judge’ – Mr. Nikoloff serves on a triumvirate with Dlina Temkina and the Second Judge, and a split judge rules when the other two are in disagreement. In an attempt to compromise Mr. Nikoloff’s daughter, Dlina’s valet (Hesse) compromises Mr. Nikoloff’s son, leading to a potential disinheritance, but this is part of the larger plan, as Dlina, within the law, wants precedent against a ruling upheld by Cardinal Bishops in the Orthodox church, the culture/conversion and inheritance laws. To get a ruling on disinheritance from a Ukrainian judge, Dlina can claim her birthright as a bastard, Leminya Fyodorovna’s mother was the last daughter of Nicholas the Second, last Tsar of Russia, and sets up her attempt to reunify the Army behind the Imperial Throne, as the last Romanov can only inherit when the right is extended to women. This sets up the second half of the story wherein the idea of making her emperor leads to an attempted mutiny in Niya’s army after Igor Orloff is found guilty of having the Frenchman killed in order to keep him from revealing that Igor Orloff never returned his phone and it comes out in Trial, after the split Judge (Mr. Nikoloff) has agreed with Dlina not to prosecute her sister Niya as long as she’ll rule with him on his son’s disinheritance, for the behavior with Dlina’s valet, that Igor Orloff was feeding information to Richard Daly about Niya’s movements in Yekaterinburg to protect one of Orloff’s bastard daughters, born in the United States after her mother Linna leaves the Soviet Union around the time of its fall in ’91, shortly after the January Events (the last stand of the Russian army in an attempt to take a Lithuainian broadcast station), and Dlina sentences Igor Orloff to death.
Dlina’s aide Mr. Profokiev goes to offer Igor the opportunity to go to a labor camp in the East, or to choose to work in civic building projects. Igor’s brother Aranoff (The guard Niya actually gave the information to since they’re old friends who have slept together, even though Dlina told her not to talk in the sheets with Noffa) rebells and attempts to install a decoy of Niya Leminyovna, head of the largest Russian standing army, and is stopped by the decoy of the Ukrainian president, Viktor 2, along with Profokiev and the cooks who cook Aranoff’s supper at the end of the decoy mutiny (so named after the attempt to replace the General Niya with her decoy/boardguard Chaska [Russian for teacup/tea-kettle]. Aranoff is served peach cobbler with potassium cyanide in it, with the Ukrainian president’s decoy (Viktor 2) serving it to him, Dlina leaves, returning to meet Igor Orloff’s bastard daughter Stefani.
The larger battles in the first part would be the fall of Yekaterinburg, the culmination of the Caesar propaganda campaign (being a coordinated Russian attack on American radio/broadcast towers, in a manner similar to the way the Russian army once failed to take the Lithuainian television station. Dlina’s projects, developed as a type of communication device that puts several people into the same conversation regardless of their location as an approach to coordinating with group captains in war, as the first two battles in the story are not as large as the war that develops, and by the time the first Anglo-Russo war battle has taken place the characters from the first story, with some of the children – Children of Katushka [Shenka through Potemkin’s children, now a perspective chapter in the third part]; the children of Nadia Albanese, as she has two, Marco and Zola, and they take over the perspective of someone to experience the war from their perspective in Britain, planting a perspective for that perspective in the larger war that develops, the Second anglo-Russo war, ending in the drowning of Richard Daly’s fleet at the mouth of the Volga river (In modern Volgagrad, site of the Stalingrad war memorial), with Richard Daly being captured along with his second officer, Gilbert Allen and taken to Moscow.
Shenka participates in every battle after that within the developing, larger war, but the fight for Volga River is her first. Nadia, having traveled first to London with Leonid and then Marseilles to visit his mother, spending the time during the first decoy mutiny here as it is around Christmas, as Nadia and Leonid don’t make it to Leonid’s grandmother’s house, where his cousin Katushka and her children live, and they have only recently returned home (Marie attending the school of performing arts. She will give a perspective of an opera that is destroyed from above in the third anglo-Russo war. After spending time in Marseilles and going to Glass Beach (on the Catalan sea), Leonid and Nadia’s relationship begins and they start having sex, and Katushka thinks of Leonid more and more, essentially jealous on behalf of her son (with Leonid) as he never sees Leonid, and hadn’t since the Sochi Olympics. After Leonid decides to stay in Rostov to look after his (and Katushka’s) grandmother Sofya after her heart attack. Nadia has traveled to Crimea to cover the attempt to retake the city by NATO forces, the first battle after the decony mutiny at the end of part two, with Aranoff’s last supper and Dlina fleeing to Rostov, leading a trail for Bob to follow to Stavrapol after Stefani, as she’s followed there by Pierce, believing he would find her and wanting to protect her after he believes Bob (Richard Daly) plans on tracking her and then having her killed for her association with Dlina, whom she meets in a suburb of Rostov at a modest house and Dlina gives her money and an old ornate French clock. First time Dlina takes control of a child, the bastard daughter of Igor Orloff while he is put to work rebuilding the bridges over the Volga (this prior to the Battle of the Volga) and his brother, the younger Aranoff, is hanged from the tower surrounding Niya’s guard Smerakovich so the feet of his corpse will kick against the window and remind him of his crime, since he left the Frenchman in the care of someone other than Igor, this being covered from the perspective of Dlina’s aide, Profokiev, who is in the Presidential Palace when the mutiny takes place, from the perspective of the decoy of the Ukrainian president (Viktor 2 recounts most of it in his second perspective chapter in part 2, giving it the name Aesop’s Feast), while Niya, under Dlina’s command, has left the palace while the rebels, under Aranoff – charging that Dlina is acting outside of the law and carrying a Caesar flyer bearing Dlina’s name, DLINA I ROMANOVA, and it is left in the plate at the empty seat at the end of the table in Niya’s vacant bedchambers, as she’s in the city with Mr. Nikoloff’s daughter Bethanya while Dlina’s valet seduces Mr. Nikoloff’s son Peter, giving Dlina the precedent for disinheritance in favor of a daughter, Bethanya, whom Niya has befriended and gone riding with on the land, several hectares in long steppe and bush. This secures this long-term goal for Dlina, and works in the short term to expose the leak to the West in Niya’s army. Viktor 2 helps Niya escape and works on Dlina’s behalf in Ukraine after Niya and Bethanya shoot down a billboard on a promenade in Kiev. The night of the mutiny Niya spends it with Bethanya, drinking wine and playing the piano, and Dlina returns to Rostov to meet Stefani.
The main thematic element is illegitimacy. It begins with the forgeries of the Caesar papers, which are themselves a propaganda campaign to signal Dlina in the East that certain broadband devices/network routers have been shipped, as they work to disconnect radio communication in combatant populations, a modification of a communications disruptor device first used in Afghanistan (Battle of Makeshift Mosque, from Dlina 1), which is gradually set up in America over the course of part one, ending in the imposition of absolute radio silence to blanket a protest of Kiev. The device unintentionally disables electronics guidance systems and streetlights and electricity, leading to the epilogue of the culmination of that part, the conspiracy of caesars and how it relates to the themes being set up, and though it succeeds, it has unintended casualties which is thought of as a War Crime, and it gives Richard Daly the excuse to send ships down the Volga to take the city and cut off food supplies in all directions on the vast Volga river, setting up a NATO army in the Northwest of Moscow composed of ten thousand Americans under Richard Daly, Gilbert Allen with three carriers and seventeen ships, and this culmination leads to the final, largest battle of the first book – Dlina is in Rostov, bringing in a rear guard of old soldiers (the net), marching to reinforce Volgagrad (meeting the retreating coalition army at the feet of the large Stalingrad war memorial statue, the gigantic Valkyrie woman with the sword. The NATO Army in the largest battle of this book, this first book in this Flag Carrier’s War anthology (composed of four books: the Book of Peace [Heir to Ruin], the Book of Letters [The Courier’s War, the second book in the series, which is compiled of letters between characters having moved into their semi-permanent places for the first two years of the war as it builds.
Leonid is in Rostov-on-Don, taking care of his grandmother and trying to reconnect with Alyosha, while trying to also get Katushka to trust him with responsibilities and working; Niya is on the Volga on a small helicopter carrier with lines of soldiers in the trees along the long, long expanse of the Volga, larger than all the great lakes combined, connecting to where Dlina starts (in the Arctic North during the White Lights, the period of time that has a constant sun, different than where Dlina is from in Stavrapol), and Nadia is there to see the attempted retaking of the capitol in Kiev, seeing the fall of Viktor 2 (Ukrainian president decoy) at the Presidential Palace after the army decamps, leaving the trial of Mr. Nikoloff’s son under his own prosection as Dlina’s public office so far, by the end of the first novel, is the Minister of Public Welfare. There is where he starts the youth group, Potemkin’s children, which of course brings Katushka’s daughter Grushenka into the Army, and where she controls the rations sent to the outskirts of Rostov, where Katushka lives, so one character’s chapter, as far as it is a singular point of view, reverberate through others, showing, through family connection or association, the characters, with Lee’s mother (Renette Brisbois, who ran their family’s theatre after Lee’s grandfather died) in France, Lee’s Russian father in America, having emigrated with Lee in 1990, after staying briefly in Rostov with Sofya, Katushka and Leonid’s shared grandmother. Richard Daly’s nephew (Andrew, the cabdriver from Chapter 1) picks up Stefani’s narrative in America after she’s placed in Dlina’s care to have that same perspective as the war develop, to show each side having their own history and motivations with each making decisions that hugely effecting one another, intentionally, causatively, incidentally, coincidentally, linking the eventual total list of primary characters around the world where the largest battles take place over the last two books, The Book of Changes, the third book, will chronicle the long thread of Russian Orthodoxy and the Nicean code, a compendium of invented and genuine histories pertinent to the culture of each chater. Giving voice to history from multiple perspectives, linking the present with history to give cultural context working with individual perspectives, in the end, I believed would work to tell the story of war in some way that is comprehensive. The Book of Changes would exist as a chronological account of major offensives and defensives within the first two books, in that larger historic context, within the context of the Soviet Army’s real life failures in Afghanistan and the anxiety and itch that old soldiers have for war, on one front or another, and I wished more than anything with this present war from a universal perspective, from children, young boys and girls, to young teens, their mothers and fathers, in power (Dlina, Richard “Bob” Daly, Niya and later Grushenka – Katushka’s oldest daughter and, in the final book Alyosha Alexandrovich – Katushka’s young son, departing after the American retreat through Rostov and his kidnapping) and there are those who work for these powerful people (Profokiev works as Dlina’s eyes and ears, her aide and secretary at the Ministry, serves her well; Leonid, works for Russian embassy in first America and then the Russian embassy in Russia, at the Kremlin; Nadia, attempting to sell a story about the war to publishers back in New York City, Pierce, the British liason officer who accidentally falls Igor Orloff’s bastard daughter to Stavrapol only to be met by Profokiev; Andrew , Grushenka, Profokiev, Viktor 2), regular people adversely or affected to a major degree by those people at the top, the secondary characters like Chashka (Niya’s decoy), Bethanya Nikolovna [the split Judge Mr. Nikoloff’s daughter], Hesse (Dlina’s valet who seduces Mr. Nikoloff’s son) Leminya (Dlina’s mother), Eugene (Leonid’s father, Eugene I, works in a factory on East Coast, shipping broadband modems – modified to emit that interruption signal (from the Manhattan Protest Bombings, which ends the first part of Heir to Ruin, with the Death of Aranoff ending part 2, and the last act ending with the Battle of the Volga, the capture of Richard Daly, and the first battle of the Anglo-Russo war. Alyosha is kidnapped during the American army’s retreat to hold to ransom (as they had done with Igor Orloff’s bastard Stefani), Profokiev, Marie and Angela are killed along with Sofya at the end of the first book (the Book of Peace), with Leonid going to Moskow, leaving Katushka with her dead children, while Nadia is caught in the retaking of Kiev; English ships begin to swell along the Catalan sea along the eastern shore of Southern france in Marseilles, where Leonid’s mother lives; the second usage of the interruption device / (the black rainbow from part one, interrupting news broadcasts and shutting off broadcast signals in the UK by Russian paramilitary groups, which leads to Britain declaring war on Russia along with France, as Germany, with Angela Merckel and Dlina Temkina signing a non-aggression pact, the New-Ribbontropp pact, and the expulsion of NATO forces in the far West along the borders with Lithuainia, Poland, Latvia, and Estonia. The larger Army Group regroups in Volgragrad and begins to march, turning their ships back to Kiev to relieve the smaller Army group under siege in the Captiol, with Viktor 2 and Chaska (General Niya’s decoy) being killed, replaced by a new legitimate President to prosecute Mr. Nikoloff’s son to disinherit him in favor of the daughter Bethanya (whom Niya spends the night of the decoy mutiny with) though [she] refuses to testify against her brother (Peter Nikolovich) as he is disinherited in Bethanya’s favor, changing an ancient Cardinal law of inheritance in the Orthodox Church (allowing Dlina to inherit the Imperial Throne through her mother’s father, Nicholas II Romanov, giving Niya her precedent and setting up the title of the final novel (the Book of War), The Last Romanov, becoming the thirteenth Caesar from the propaganda campaign that begun the story with Oliver Pierce in Washington talking to Richard Daly (Uncle Bob) about the papers, which are taken to Leonid and translated, who meets the journalist Nadia, interspersed with chapters of war in its early forms in Russia (chapter 2, the Fall of Yekaterinburg) and Chapter 14, the Sacking of Kiev), which then culminate with those Manhattan Protest Bombings, which they are called at first as it is not known what type of weapon is being used. The Black Rainbow as it’s called is emitted by an experimental radio transmitter, using the set-up broadband devices as transponders to amplify the signal, thus imposing radio silence on vast swathes of America (when the Russian Army invades the American mainland through Alaska, then sweeping through the West coast and taking the bay in San Francisco as the bulk of domestic forces are rallied to stand in Chicago with the Red Army Marching Eastward, attempting to link up with Grushenka’s fleet in the South Carolina city of Charleston, to control the shipping lanes in and out of America – starving them to sue for peace. Alyosha, having grown up for two books with Richard Daly’s family in America, meets his sister in Battle, in the Battle of the Mississippi, the first major battle on American soil in the series, first recounted in Grushenka XVIII, in a letter to the commissar of defense in Moscow, where Dlina is arranging a coup after a suspended election, with Vladimir Putin taking wartime powers, building a parliament of rooks – from the second part of The Last Romanov – against Putin rule in favor of Dlina, who has made her family history known in her campaign for Secretary of Defense. When she’s linked to the murder of a Bishop during the fall of Kiev, the church begins to work against her, forcing her to choose between the sacking of the Orthodoxy in Russia or the dismantling of ceded territories to orthodox Christians allowed to vote on the laws for their regions, with federal inheritance laws altered, finally, to allow Dlina to assume that role, that may have gotten away from me, of the last Caesar in that series that starts the book, as Leonid tells Pierce (Chapter 2) that the series wasn’t intended to end with Julius Caesar (the last propaganda flyer found) that it is meant to preach the coming of a new Tsar, the elected Caesar like the thirteenth Caesar (Chapter 2) Nerva in Roman Imperial History. Dlina sees it as her goal to change these laws of inheritance, allowing for bastard children to inherit, and for women to inherit in the absence of a male heir, even among Cardinal Bishops, her biggest resistance in the end, forcing her to choose between executing them and trying to oppress them.
Somewhere in all this I want to tell very simple human stories, as in Katushka’s narrative, who brings in her rations each day, vegetables and grains provided for her by the Ministry of Public Welfare (While Dlina is in office, allows us to view her work in public office) and she talks with her children and tries to teach them and anticipating Leonid’s arrival in Rostov, we have their history and relationship, developing simultaneously with Leonid and Nadia, showing how similar it is for people in their ways of loving. Developing bonds in the early story allows for the threats posed to the characters to matter, to have characters with personalities and intricate lives and a part of a cultural whole unique to itself is done best by giving them a personality before putting them in great danger. The danger that is present in the last book, with each character facing unique challenges, with Katushka working to move provisions and food into Rostov in the later days of the war, as Leminya (Dlina’s mother, daughter of Nicholas II) lived through the Siege of Leningrad (Chapter 11, Leminya I), giving an historical event that is, while not Xeroxed into the present actually, something characters can find some sort of hope in, as if someone such as Leminya, a chubby girl who stole ration cards during the blockade, could survive, then Grushenka (Chapter 29, The New Saints Row) can learn from it to help her mother besieged in Rostov as the food shipments, which mattered so much to Koshka in the earlier chapters (Katushka I, Katushka II, and by Katushka III Dlina has taken over as Minister, and the provisions increase and stay constant until the war efforts becomes more desperate with Grushenka fighting a stalemate along the Mississippi river, with the Red Army urging her to retreat (Grushenka VI) and wait for supplies by sea.