In the year 2034, the United States and China become embroiled in a series of military conflicts that escalate into a devastating tactical nuclear war. Other countries — including Russia, Iran and India — get involved. Suddenly, the world is on the verge of World War III.

This is the scenario described in “2034: A Novel of the Next World War,” an engrossing work of speculative fiction by NATO’s former supreme commander, Adm. James Stavridis, and Elliot Ackerman. The book is part of a growing chorus now warning that a clash between the world’s current rising power and the incumbent one is almost unavoidable.

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