Way of the Wolf
by E.E. Knight
Review by Paul Haggerty
Roc / Penguin Putnam PPBK ISBN/ITEM#: 0451459393
Date: 9/2/2003 List Price 6.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK /
Way of the Wolf is the first book in Knight's Vampire Earth series. It takes place some 43 years after earth has been invaded and conquered by the Kurians, a race of beings who feed off the life force of sentient creatures in order to keep themselves alive. The Kurians had tried this before and failed. This is where the legend of the vampires originated, though the details got a bit fuzzy over the centuries. But this time the takeover is nearly complete. Only small bands of humans remain free from a lifestyle no better than that of sheep. When a Kurian wants to feed, a human dies. It doesn't matter who you are or what you've done. You're just lunch on legs.
The only way to get to the back of the food line is to work willingly for the Kurians, doing whatever dirty work they want done. Needless to say, these collaborators, called Quislings, are not held in high esteem. Patrols of Quislings form the core of the Kurians pacification scheme. Of course power corrupts, and Quislings aren't known for their high moral fiber to start with.
David Valentine grew up in northern Minnesota, where the winters are cold enough to keep the Kurians at bay. But life is still tough. During the summer months, the Kurians send their servants, the Reapers, to make sure the humans know who's boss and to stock up on a little life force. And during the winter, the Quislings are out and about. David is made an orphan at the age of eleven by a patrol that wanders by and for no apparent reason decides to kill his parents.
But David isn't going to just sit back and wait for his turn to be the slapped on the dinner plate. He knows his father was in the resistance and he figures that, at seventeen, he's now old enough to offer up whatever abilities he has. So when friends of his father visit, he hooks himself up and begins his journey to the Ozark Free Territory, controlled by the army of Southern Command.
But there's the resistance, and then there's the resistance. Humanity is not alone in this fight. Cousins of the Kurians are on Earth as well, although far to few in number. The Lifeweavers oppose the vampiric lifestyle of their kin and seek to stop them whenever possible. And one of the possible ways is to enhance humans to make them stronger, faster, and tougher. David is selected for this treatment and becomes a Wolf, trained and equipped to go deep behind enemy lines as a scout, spy, and saboteur. All skills he'll need for the missions ahead. With his newly enhanced senses and stamina, David is sent north, right into the heart of Kurian territory.