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Tale of the Thunderbolt: Vampire Earth, Book 3
E.E. Knight
Multi-cast production, adaptation
GraphicAudio, 11 hours

Tale of the Thunderbolt: Vampire Earth, Book 3
E.E. Knight
E.E. Knight was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and grew up near the Twin Cities in Minnesota. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a double major in History and Political Science, had a number of jobs that had nothing to do with history or political science, and now resides in Chicago.

E.E. Knight Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Way of the Wolf
SF Site Review: Dragon Champion
SF Site Review: Choice of the Cat
SF Site Review: Choice of the Cat
SF Site Review: Way of the Wolf
SF Site Interview: E.E. Knight

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Ivy Reisner

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There is a weapon that can change the course of the war against the Kurians. Captain David Valentine doesn't know what it is, or exactly where he can find it, but he does know that if he can get to Haiti with a large enough ship, he can meet up with a man called Papa Legba who can show him the way. To that end, he goes undercover for a year as a Coastal Marine in the Kurian Zone, getting promotion after promotion as his own worst enemy.  

He gets assigned to The Thunderbolt, the best battleship in the fleet, and stages a mutiny to take the ship.  He is then captured by pirates, called upon by the visions of a pre-law student turned psychic to fulfill a prophecy and save Jamaica, captured by a man he thought was dead, leads a revolution to free Haiti, and walks into far too many ambushes. The book flies from action scene to shocking revelation, with a few sweet, downtime scenes that round out the experience.  It's a hard one to put down.

This volume continues the theme of expect the unexpected.  Seeming allies are not to be trusted.  Help comes from unexpected quarters including a Kurian and a tree. It also explores various elements of ethics. Naturally, David struggles with the utilitarian ethics he's saddled with -- is it right to do evil to serve a greater good?  This one resurfaces repeatedly, as he is forced into situations where the expedient, necessary solution might not be the morally upstanding one. And what about a situation where another character puts the needs of the many above the needs of the one, when the one is of particular importance to David?

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Post must come to an understanding of forgiveness. He has ruined his family and himself and, although he gains a superficial forgiveness from those only mildly wronged by his actions, he must decide if he can forgive David for a particular "expedient, necessary solution." He must also see if he can forgive himself and find forgiveness from the people he has wronged the most.  Papa Legba's path is Post's told large, where he goes from the true evil towards beneficence.

  The audio, as always with GraphicAudio, is spectacular. It's closer to a radio drama than an audiobook, with Ken Jackson doing the narration and a full cast of supporting actors playing the roles. The sound effects liven up the calmer, character driven scenes, and are downplayed when the action picks up.  This smoothes the story further than text alone is capable of, making the audiobook experience here far superior to the simple text.

The first book in this series is Way of the Wolf, and you will want to listen to these performances in order. There is little in the way of exposition to let a new listener know what's going on. The story just doesn't slow down that long. As seems to be par for the course for this series, be sure to have the fourth book, Valentine's Rising, on hand. You won't want to stop when you get to the end.  

Copyright © 2011 Ivy Reisner

Ivy Reisner is a writer, an obsessive knitter, and a podcaster. Find her at IvyReisner.com.


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