Way of the Wolf: Book One of The Vampire Earth
(Roc Books, US$6.50 / Canada$9.99, 391 pages, paperback, 2003; ISBN:
This book is a real genre-blender. The overall tone is dark fantasy
or horror, but the
in question are really a race of bizarre aliens, in conflict with another
race of aliens who elect to help humans fight the vampires. Other science
fiction motifs include the network of gates between worlds, and some
of the weaponry. Then you get the very strong mountain man, frontier
life, paramilitary, men's adventure threads because the vampires have
smashed human society back to a fairly low-tech level; the resistance
includes both settlers in hard-to-reach areas and bands of freedom fighters
ranging through occupied territory.
Our hero, David Valentine, has grown up in rebel territory. He decides
to become a Wolf, one of the elite fighters trained and physically modified
to combat the Reapers. Just getting there is an adventure, and the transformation
itself proves quite an ordeal. A resourceful fellow, David soon adapts
to his new life and abilities. But when the Reapers start making serious
trouble for him, he declines to play by their rules ...
Way of the Wolf lays down a strong beginning for what promises
to be an engrossing series. The author handles traditional motifs in
fresh and often unsettling ways. Fans of slipstream fiction will definitely
want to read this. It also holds great appeal for readers who enjoy
any of the component genres: dark fantasy, horror, or adventure. Highly
Review by Elizabeth Barrette.