cover image Winter Duty

Winter Duty

E. E. Knight, . . Roc, $24.95 (343pp) ISBN 978-0-451-46274-9

The tense eighth installment of Knight's Vampire Earth series (a welcome improvement over 2008's Fall with Honor ) continues David Valentine's adventures in 2076 as the invading Kurian Order decides to exterminate rebellious Earthlings. The Southern Command authorizes Valentine to wage a guerrilla war with the goal of creating a Kentucky freehold. His ragtag battalion (including some controversial Quisling and alien Grog recruits) must deal first with a power plant outage that blacks out Evansville and Owensboro and then a blizzard and the Kurians' plot to unleash a “ravies” epidemic on the human herd. Knight keeps the conflict interesting but says too little about the inscrutable Kurians, who are “like magicians, always diverting attention from the operating hand.” Even readers familiar with the series would welcome a glossary and more background on the various alien races. (July)