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Way of the Wolf: Book One of The Vampire Earth

by EE Knight

(Roc Books, US$6.50 / Canada$9.99, 391 pages, paperback, 2003; ISBN: 0-451-45939-3.)

Four stars.

This book is a real genre-blender. The overall tone is dark fantasy or horror, but the cover scanvampires 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 recommended.

Review by Elizabeth Barrette.

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