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Choice of the Cat: Book Two of the Vampire Earth
E.E. Knight
Roc, 352 pages

Art: Koveck
Choice of the Cat
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: Choice of the Cat
SF Site Review: Way of the Wolf
SF Site Interview: E.E. Knight

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

Lt. David Valentine is a proud member of the Wolves, an elite squad dedicated to eradicating the Kurian Order from earth. Kurians are vile. The Masters need Aura energy to live, energy they get from their Reapers when they kill humans. The Reapers are vampire-like creatures, puppets controlled by the Masters, who in turn command the ape-like grogs. These creatures have formed a team that is near impossible to beat as the wars that decimated the world have proven.

When these creatures attack a camp where Valentine and his team are posted, their leader, Captain Beck, decides to make a stand. The regiment does, valiantly, especially when Beck is wounded and Valentine is placed in charge. Unfortunately the tide begins to turn under the overwhelming grog numbers, and when a Cat named Smoke tells them that there are several reapers in that group they know they're doomed, because they won't be able to stand another charge, especially if the Reapers come. Valentine stages a brilliant retreat -- an action that costs him his life in the Wolves.

Smoke comes for him. Impressed by his abilities, she offers him another chance as a Cat. The two are soon on the trail to find out about a new group in the Kurian Order, the Twisted Cross -- an order that might prove to be the Kurian's deadliest new weapon.

Part survival story, part SF, part horror, Choice of the Cat moves along very well. It makes for a very neat tale, the idea that these vampire-like aliens come and take over everything, making the earth into some Orwellian nightmare. E.E. Knight gives a good to counter the bad. The Lifeweavers are the Kur's cousins, an alien race who have long fought the evils of the Kurians. They give wonderful gifts to the humans who agree to help -- Bears, Wolves and Cats all get abilities similar to their names. Valentine can hear very well, see in almost-night (the way he describes his night vision much closer than I've ever been able to describe) and fight like a mad man. These nifty strengths don't make him immortal, so there is a lot of tension when he and Smoke go on into enemy territory, where some of their worst enemies are humans who have decided to work for the enemy order. A quisling about to turn you in to the Reapers looks just like a friend who might give you valuable information.

The new society Knight has built is also very interesting. The Kurian's don't own all the land (yet) there are still free zones where our kind have not yet been defeated or areas, even, that have been won back. The way that Smoke and Val trade their way across both areas, sometimes a good cigarette and some decent liquor can buy you things that money can't, hopping trains and getting horses is well done. You can see remnants of our world, in fact, Val has a very good grasp of history, but so much is gone or warped to the Kur's use. I really enjoyed the journey for these little discoveries, even as it brought home the importance of defeating the very scarily written Kur.

This book is the second in The Vampire Earth series. The first was Way of the Wolf, and the next, due out in 2005, is Tale of the Thunderbolt.

Copyright © 2004 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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