The Zone is a serious of novels by James Rouch set against the backdrop of a general NATO-Warsaw Pact war in Central Germany, first published in the 80s, the war zone being the eponymous Zone. Needless to say, I was immediately drawn to them but only read the first 5 due to being incarcerated in boarding school. After a conversation late last year at a Norfolkes musket cleaning session, I discovered they'd been republished in PDF format and there were 10 volumes!
Surprise, surprise, I bought them all. As I read through them, I started to realise there were continuity issues e.g. Clarence, the sniper, after reaching his target of kills for vengeance for his dead wife and child, commits suicide by pulling the pin on a White Phosphorous grenade and shooting himself in the head. Boris the Russian deserter is captured and tortured to death by Spetsnaz troops. Libby deserts into The Zone. All reappear in later volumes!
So, I tracked a number of characters who come and go (and come again...) to see if there's anyway the titles can be re-arranged to make chronological sense. The answer appears to be no:
Volume 9, where Boris reappears, could possibly be moved to anywhere before or after 5 or 6 (ie before Boris is tortured to death) but 9 makes no mention of Clarence who appears in 5 and 6 (but committed suicide in 8). There's also the minor matter of the entire unit deserting to fight their own private war in The Zone at the end of 9 (which is not mentioned in 10, incidentally - they're back under normal command in that).
Volume 10 just doesn't fit at all. The problem is Libby and Thorne are in this one but Libby deserted before Thorne is introduced, never mind that Libby is supposed to have deserted and Thorne died from chemical or biological contamination!
I think the problem is that 10 was written some time after the previous 9, in 2007, and the author brought back his favourite characters, never mind they were supposed to have died or deserted.
|2||Blind Fire||Dies - KIA||Y||Y||Dies - KIA||Intro|
|7||Killing Ground||Ref dead||Y||Dies - tortured to death||Y||Y||Y||Intro (Voke)|
|8||Civilian Slaughter||Ref deserted||Dies - suicide||Dies - contamination||Y||Y||Y (Vokes)|
Still, The Zone is a good set of entertaining warporn stories. If you liked Twilight: 2000 (as in the WWIII RPG, not the sparkly vampires!), it's fun but, clearly, not to be taken too seriously ;-)