2034: A Novel of the Next World War (Hardcover)

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From two former military officers and award-winning authors, a chillingly authentic, geopolitical thriller that imagines a naval clash between the US and China in the South China Sea in 2034--and the path from there to a nightmarish global conflagration.

On March 12, 2034, US Navy Commodore Sarah Hunt is on the bridge of her flagship, the guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones, conducting a routine freedom of navigation patrol in the South China Sea when her ship detects an unflagged trawler in clear distress, smoke billowing from its bridge. On that same day, US Marine aviator Major Chris "Wedge" Mitchell is flying an F35E Lightning over the Strait of Hormuz, testing a new stealth technology as he flirts with Iranian airspace. By the end of that day, Wedge will be an Iranian prisoner, and Sarah Hunt's destroyer will lie at the bottom of the sea, sunk by the Chinese Navy. Iran and China have clearly coordinated their moves, which involve the use of powerful new forms of cyber weaponry that render US ships and planes defenseless. In a single day, America's faith in its military's strategic pre-eminence is in tatters. A new, terrifying era is at hand.

So begins a disturbingly plausible work of speculative fiction, co-authored by an award-winning novelist and decorated Marine veteran and the former commander of NATO, a legendary admiral who has spent much of his career strategically out maneuvering America's most tenacious adversaries. Written with a powerful blend of geopolitical sophistication and literary, human empathy, 2034 takes us inside the minds of a global cast of characters--Americans, Chinese, Iranians, Russians, Indians--as a series of arrogant miscalculations on all sides leads the world into an intensifying international storm. In the end, China and the United States will have paid a staggering cost, one that forever alters the global balance of power.

Everything in 2034 is an imaginative extrapolation from present-day facts on the ground combined with the authors' years working at the highest and most classified levels of national security. Sometimes it takes a brilliant work of fiction to illuminate the most dire of warnings: 2034 is all too close at hand, and this cautionary tale presents the reader a dark yet possible future that we must do all we can to avoid.

About the Author


Admiral Jim Stavridis, USN (Ret.) spent more than thirty years in the US Navy, rising to the rank of four-star admiral. He was Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and previously commanded US Southern Command, overseeing military operations through Latin America. At sea, he commanded a Navy destroyer, a destroyer squadron, and an aircraft carrier battle group in combat. He holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he recently served five years as dean. He has published nine previous books. Admiral Stavridis is Chief International Security and Diplomacy Analyst for NBC News, and a columnist at both Time magazine and Bloomberg Opinion. Based in Washington, D.C., he is an operating executive of the Carlyle Group, an international private equity firm.

Elliot Ackerman is the author of the novels Red Dress In Black and White, Waiting for Eden, Dark at the Crossing, and Green on Blue, as well as the memoir Places and Names: On War, Revolution and Returning. His books have been nominated for the National Book Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal in both fiction and non-fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. He is both a former White House Fellow and Marine, and served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart.

Praise For…


“Those seeking a realistic look at how a future world war might play out will be rewarded.” Publishers Weekly

“Chilling yet compulsively readable work of speculative fiction . . . Ackerman and Stavridis have created a brilliantly executed geopolitical tale that is impossible to put down and that serves as a dire, all-too-plausible warning that recent events could have catastrophic consequences.”—Booklist, starred review

“War with China is the most dangerous scenario facing us and the world. Absent a strategic method to manage our differences, Jim Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman’s chilling novel presents a realistic series of miscalculations leading to the worst consequences. A sobering, cautionary tale for our time.” —Jim Mattis, General, U.S. Marines (Ret.) and 26th Secretary of Defense

“A brilliant thriller! Masterfully plotted and elegantly written, 2034 is a literary tour-de-force. Let’s just hope none of it comes true.” —Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Near Dark

“A real page-turner, 2034 is a novel about a conflict we hope never happens. Drawing on their deep operational and diplomatic backgrounds, Admiral Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman have conjured a nightmare we desperately need to avoid. The novel is a cautionary tale for our times, and a reminder how quickly events can spin out of control—even before 2034.” —Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense 2006-2011

“I could not stop reading 2034. With sharply drawn, vibrant characters caught in an all too plausible future conflict, the novel left me fascinated, moved, thrilled and, ultimately, haunted.” —Phil Klay, author of Missionaries

2034 is an exciting, interesting, and informative novel about a hypothetical future war with China that is largely determined by actual decisions already made. It describes in detail how a single technological leap forward by an adversary, in this case China, could destroy our ability to communicate, resulting in a blind, hapless military. It also demonstrates how today’s military policies will leave a future United States without adequate resources to wage a high intensity conventional war and be forced to resort to a first strike nuclear response and its horrific consequences. Anyone who is concerned about where today’s military technology decisions are taking us should read this book.” —Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn and Deep River


Product Details
ISBN: 9781984881250
ISBN-10: 1984881256
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: March 9th, 2021
Pages: 320