Valentine's Exile: A Novel of the Vampire Earth
by E.E. Knight
Review by Paul Haggerty
Roc Hardcover Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0451460871
Date: 06 June, 2006 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK /
David Valentine is a hero. A man that does what needs to be done to save lives and protect the innocent from the scourge of the Kur, alien invaders that have conquered and enslaved the earth. He's foiled plot after plot, and scheme after scheme, risking his own life time and again without a second thought. Leading a handful of men, he held off the combined mass of enemy troops, and saved the entire Ozark Free Territories. And now, in Valentine's Exile David finally gets what the powers-that-be like to give true heroes: A quick and meaningless trial followed by a sentence of death.
This is the 5th book in the Vampire Earth Series. In the previous book, Valentine's Rising, Valentine made a battlefield choice. He allowed a group of women who had been raped and tortured by the enemy to deal with their own tormentors while he performed five miracles before breakfast to keep everyone else (including other enemy soldiers) alive. He had also, as a matter of necessity, taken a Free Territories general and turned his men against him, knocking him back from quasi-emperor to mere general. Now the Free Territories have decided that it would be politically expedient to throw a few "war criminals" on the fire in order to gain some concessions from the enemy. And a certain general makes sure that Valentine's name is on the list of those to be sacrificed.
With a little help, and a lot of looking the other way, Valentine is allowed to escape and go into self-imposed exile. He can't return to the Free Territories, but he'll do his best to defend the backstabbing worms anyway.
Taking one of his usual journeys which meander halfway across the former United States, Valentine follows the trail of a friend's wife who was taken by the Kur for reasons unknown. Along with several of his old friends, Valentine travels from Memphis, Tennessee, to a camp in Ohio called Xanadu. And in this Kurian enclave Valentine will discover far more than merely what the Kurians want with this special breed of prisoner.
The Valentine's series is still going strong. Each book reveals new secrets concerning the world which expose new levels of complexity without yet revealing anything that strains credulity. I'm looking forward to more in this series as David Valentine is forced to deal with the enemy, his former allies, and the consequences of his own actions.