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Way of the Wolf, parts 1 and 2: Vampire Earth
E.E. Knight
Multi-cast production, adaptation
GraphicAudio, 11 hours for both parts

Way of the Wolf, parts 1 and 2: Vampire Earth
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: 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

E.E. Knight's Vampire Earth series, of which Way of the Wolf is the first, is a tremendous work of post-apocalyptic science fiction with genetically engineered vampires. The story follows David Valentine, from his beginnings as the adopted son of a minister in the free territories, through joining the Wolves and becoming like a wolf himself, through his military career against Earth's new Kurian overlords. Most of the power in this story comes from its excellent and brilliantly executed world building.

The story line is simple. David Valentine, the protagonist, is recruited into the Wolves. He carries out a few hit-and-run operations against the Kurians. When he and his Wolf Gonzales find an odd Kurian encampment, then investigate, Gonzales is shot and they are forced to take shelter with local humans. While there, David falls in love with the farm girl, Molly. Molly is captured by a high-ranking quisling, and David must journey to The Loop in Chicago, and a pit of sadistic hedonism known only as "The Zoo" to get her out. This is the book that sets up the world for the rest of the series. On its own, it is fun and exciting, and the pacing is kept brisk despite the need to fill in a tremendous amount of back story.

In the year 2022, year one of the Kurian Order, the Kurians engineered a set of natural and not so natural, disasters to soften the Earth for invasion. Earthquakes, nuclear explosions, and plague have reduced the human population to a quarter of what it was before the invasion. Nation after nation fell, and, at the time of the story, a few old timers reminisce about the days of movies and microwave ovens. Earth has been thrown back for the most part to pre-Industrial Revolution technology. While there are some cars, mostly owned by the quislings, few people know how to drive.

The Kurians are aliens, come to Earth to enslave humanity and eat a few vital auras. Vital auras are similar to ki or chakra. It's fundamental human energy. Each Kurian Lord can command a group of Reapers, which are pretty much vampires. Quislings are humans who have decided to join with the Kurians, against their fellow humans. Grogs are enhanced animals, altered genetically to be strong, fearless, and almost smart. They resemble a great variety of animals, but most of them resemble apes with the hide of a rhino. They are capable of using weapons, but they aren't always smart enough not to shoot each other.

Humanity's helper in this is the Lifeweavers. They are from the same planet as the Kurians, and they possess similar powers. They take volunteers from amongst the humans and they enhance them, naming them for totemic Earth animals. The most common are the Wolves. These run attacks into the Kurian zone, they rescue humans, and they act as patrollers and guard free cities. There are the Cats, who act as saboteurs, spies, and occasionally assassins. The Bears are the most powerful, and they act as front-line soldier and shock troops.

It's a book to which you need to pay close attention. The time moves around a bit. In order to start with action, and establish the world and its dangers right away, the book starts in the 43rd year of the Kurian Order, with Lt. Valentine in the middle of an evacuation operation. It then moves to the 39th year, and the story of how Valentine first joined the Wolves. Lots of key information is thrown out in a single line, only to come up later.

As always with GraphicAudio, the production quality is amazing. They went easy on the sound effects this time, except for the voice alteration for the Reapers. It would have been easy to go overboard with this one, but the cleaner, crisper presentation they chose worked far better.

This book pulls you into the story world with ferocity and leaves a lot of questions unanswered, so you will want to have the second book in the series, The Choice of the Cat, on hand for when you finish the first book.

Copyright © 2011 Ivy Reisner

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

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