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E.E. Knight

E.E. Knight Age of Fire(1965- )
E.E. Knight was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Minnesota and now calls Chicago home, where he abides in domestic felicity with a spouse, a young son, and assorted pets. He invites readers to visit his website.

Way of the Wolf: A strange mix that works well

Way of the Wolf by E.E. Knight

Post-apocalyptic science fiction is one of my favorite sub-genres. Finding a good fantasy equivalent can sometimes be difficult, as it usually gets classified as science fiction. E.E. Knight’s Way of the Wolf has vampires and magic, and clearly falls into the category of fantasy. It also is about a post-nuclear United States with aliens, and scattered communities of humanity fighting for survival. It’s a strange mix, but it all works out well.

In the 2020’s a series of natural disasters struck earth, followed by a disease that caused the infected to go insane and die. The population of the earth was decimated. Shortly after these events, the Kurians, a race of magical beings, appeared and assumed control over the planet. The Kurians feed off the life force of humans (and others), and they use a group of really tough critters (Reapers) to do their colle... Read More

Choice of the Cat: All out of bubble gum

Choice of the Cat by E.E. Knight

David Valentine returns home for a break in Choice of the Cat, but his rest is short-lived, as he quickly becomes the victim of military bureaucracy and is given a special assignment: he is to partner with a special agent who goes by the code name Smoke. Smoke, a small, attractive female killer with mild psychotic tendencies, is a specialized soldier called a Cat. While we learned a little about Cats in Way of the Wolf, we get to see what it’s like to be one in Choice of the Cat. Valentine (now code-named Ghost) and Smoke are assigned to gather intel on a group of Nazi-like super soldiers who are under Kurian control. These “Twisted Cross” soldiers are capable of organized destruction and have been to known to wipe out entire fortified cities overnight. This may sound a little silly, but if you’ve read the first book, you know ... Read More

Tale of the Thunderbolt: The story is still exciting and action-packed

Tale of the Thunderbolt by E.E. Knight

Tale of the Thunderbolt is the third installment in the VAMPIRE EARTH series. Each book has so far followed the story of David Valentine, post-apocalyptic warrior extraordinaire. In this third volume, Southern Command has sent David on a mission to bring back a secret weapon that lays hidden somewhere on the Haitian side of Hispaniola. David has been undercover for over a year in preparation for this mission, and has done things for the sake of humanity that he dares not speak of.

The David Valentine in Tale of the Thunderbolt is unfortunately a bit different from the one seen in previous novels. He seems more than slightly damaged from the things he’s been through in the past. I always enjoyed the fact that Valentine always did the right thing no matter what the consequences were. There was a cha... Read More

Valentine’s Rising: Action, hard choices, cool characters

Valentine’s Rising by E.E. Knight

Valentine’s Rising takes place immediately following the disastrous end of the previous novel, Tale of the Thunderbolt. The disaster was widespread and has changed Southern Command forever, and David Valentine and his remaining men must find ways to survive the situation. Valentine’s Rising is a tale of espionage, sacrifices, and all-out war.

E.E. Knight sticks with the same format he’s always used in the Vampire Earth novels: plenty of action, hard choices, and cool characters. Over the course of the series I’ve gotten to know the cast of characters quite well. I often know what each of them would do in a given situation. Valentine, for instance, always has to make the tough choices for the greater good. He’s not afraid to get ... Read More

Valentine’s Exile: A violent romp through a post-apocalyptic war zone

Valentine's Exile by E.E. Knight

E.E. Knight’s Valentine’s Exile begins shortly after the events of Valentine’s Rising. David Valentine and his platoon of Razorbacks have just finished playing the key role in saving Southern Command from complete destruction. Valentine’s troops are mobilized to Dallas, a city currently held by the Kurians. When the Razorbacks save the day again, Valentine is promoted and is given three months leave. Unfortunately, Valentine hardly sets out before he discovers himself exiled from his homeland under suspicion of murder.

Valentine’s Exile is a standard addition to the Vampire Earth series. Like the rest of the series, it is a violent romp through a post-apocalyptic war zone of gooey vampires and enemy agents. The Read More

Valentine’s Resolve: Like a favorite TV show

Valentine's Resolve by E.E. Knight

Some time has passed since the end of Valentine’s Exile, and in Valentine’s Resolve David Valentine is still in exile. He has spent many months wandering the Kurian zone exacting revenge on “Quisling” scum. When Styachowski and Duvalier find him in a remote outpost, he is alone, filthy, and just a little bitter. His former comrades convince him to take on a special mission for Southern Command. They need the help of the Lifeweavers and they believe Valentine may be the only one capable of finding them.

Valentine’s Resolve is a typical Vampire Earth novel, which is a good thing. At this point in a series it’s always great when the story is still fresh. E.E. Knight adds enough twists to keep the pages turning, and just enough drama to sq... Read More

Fall With Honor: Are you still with us, Mr. Knight?

Fall With Honor by E.E. Knight

In Fall With Honor, Val is taking part in an effort to start another area of human control in a Kurian zone. He's worn down, tired, and somewhat broken, but he's still Val.

Fall With Honor was a bit of a let down. There is an intriguing mission and there could be interesting characters,
but the folks who surround Val seem to be just different iterations of many similar characters who he's fought, served with, and hated before.
The best part of the book was when past characters put in cameo appearances. Val himself seems to be just going through the motions, and it feels like Mr. Knight has gotten bored with Vampire Earth and doesn't really give it the attention and talent that earlier installments got.

I was frustrated with Read More

Winter Duty: A violent emotional roller-coaster

Winter Duty by E.E. Knight

E.E. Knight’s Vampire Earth is one of the most interesting military fantasy series around. Watching the maturation and evolution of the main character David Valentine has been very intriguing because Knight has done the right things. Val has been through the proverbial wringer in terms of losing friends, getting hurt, and dealing with leaders who are more concerned with their own career than doing the right things for the Soldiers they lead. In many ways, Knight’s tongue-in-cheek commentary on bureaucrats and indictment of self-serving Officers has been his most powerful theme.

Winter Duty does even more. Once again Val is taking great personal risk on a mission which he feels is important, but which is not being supported by Southern Command. He lacks resources, qualified Soldiers and still he’s willing to r... Read More

March in Country: Vampire Earth keeps marching on

March in Country by E.E. Knight

March in Country had a lot to live up to after Winter Duty, the previous book in the prolific Vampire Earth series by E.E. Knight. Winter Duty was a tour de force example of grit, determination, pain and combat that really re-energized the series.

David Valentine has always been an amazing contradiction of hardened killer in combat and soft-hearted do-gooder after. Some of the lengths he has gone to in order to save friends, free prisoners and give people a second chance have gone beyond compassion and into the realms of lunacy. For a professional soldier, it’s been career suicide and led to a life full of pain. That continues to be a central theme of this series as David continues to place the needs of “victims” and the desire to reform traitors before... Read More

Appalachian Overthrow: It’s about Ahn-Kha

Appalachian Overthrow by E.E. Knight

Appalachian Overthrow the tenth novel in E.E. Knight’s VAMPIRE EARTH series, is about Ahn-Kha. not David Valentine. I wanted to get that out upfront because if you have been following this series for a long time, which I have, then reading this book is interesting because of who it’s about and not because of the way it advances the storyline.

Ahn-Kha is a grog. That’s like saying that he’s an amphibian or a mammal because the diversity between the different species is enormous. As a “Golden One,” he is highly intelligent, very wise and has the physical dimensions of a Star Wars Wookie. Basically he’s huge, strong and super smart. Humans are lucky that the Kurians didn’t do a good job of linking his race to their war or we would have been in even worse trouble.

After David and Ahn-Kha are separated during a raid,... Read More

Dragon Champion: Creative worldbuilding

Dragon Champion by E.E. Knight

Dragon Champion, the first Age of Fire novel, begins with a newborn whose initial impressions of the world are artfully depicted, but the fact that this newborn is a dragon makes it even more fun. E.E. Knight’s story follows the life and growth of a young dragon through interesting and perilous adventures.

Knight's world-building is creative; he mixes races, geography, and geo-politics to create a vibrant background. The story takes on an almost scientific tone at times as Knight explains some of the aspects of dragonkind in a way that makes sense to human readers. A good example of this is an explanation of why a dragon is able to breathe fire.

My favorite part of the story had to do with Knight’s depiction of the main bad guy. This is not your stereotypi... Read More

Dragon Avenger: Fun, exciting, light

Dragon Avenger by E.E Knight

Dragon Avenger, the second installment in E.E. Knight’s Age of Fire, is a worthy addition to a good young adult series. This story's protagonist is the sister of Auron, the main character of the first book (Dragon Champion). Using an easy-to-follow storyline, Knight incorporates characters and concepts from his first book into the second.

Wistala has to forge a path in a world that is prejudiced against dragons — just like her brother did. She finds similar challenges and impediments, but ultimately finds enough allies to help her grow and learn. This is not challenging, demanding storytelling in any sense, but just a fun easy to read book.

Knight keeps the story light — it's not graphically violent and contains no themes that are too strong for a... Read More

Dragon Outcast: Action and adventure

Dragon Outcast by E.E. Knight

As always, E.E. Knight brings us an action/adventure story filled with everybody's favorite fantasy creature: dragons.

One thing I have especially enjoyed about The Age of Fire is that you can pick up any of the novels and completely enjoy it as a stand-alone novel. Each of the books begins at the exact same time and location, yet each follows a different dragon. In Dragon Outcast, we learn the story of the Copper, Auron and Wistala’s sibling who was denied the egg shelf. In the previous two books the Copper was given a villainous cast, as it was he who led the Dragonblade and the Dwarves to his family’s cave. But now we learn that all is not as it seems, and that the Copper’s motivations were purer than we thought. And most especially, we learn the fate of the Dragonblade, an enigma from the first two bo... Read More

Magazine Monday: Apex Magazine, Issues 31 through 33

Apex Magazine is a monthly e-magazine that publishes two short stories, one reprint story, a nonfiction piece and an interview in each issue, together with the occasional poem. In the three issues I read, the reprint fiction tended to outshine the original fiction -- which doesn’t mean the original fiction was bad, just that it couldn’t quite live up to the standard set by the well-chosen older stories. The interviews are thoughtful and generally go well beyond the usual topics, either to discuss the author’s work in considerable detail or to go into areas not normally explored in most interviews. The nonfiction is variable in topic but uniformly strong work. A subscription to Apex Magazine seems to be worth the $19.95 per year asking price, though the most recent issue suggests some caution.

In the December 2011 issue (No. 31), the editor-in-chief, Lynne M. Thomas, explains in her notes (a column... Read More

The Return of the Sword: An Anthology of Heroic Adventure

The Return of the Sword: An Anthology of Heroic Adventure

I read and have read a lot of anthologies. They’re great for “in-between-books-reading” and are perfect when you just want a story that you can start and finish in one sitting. Anthologies are also a great source for sampling different writers.

Jason M Waltz did a great job of picking out the stories to use for The Return of the Sword. Except for only one or two stories (even the ones that weren’t particularly something to my personal taste) I found these to be very well and interestingly written.

The Return of the Sword contains twenty sword-and-sorcery tales — too many for me to summarize and rate individually here. I’d say most of the stories fall between 3 and 4 stars, but my personal favorites — "The Battle of Raven Kill" by Jeff Draper, "To Be A Man" by (FanLit’s own) Read More

FanLit Asks… About style

We often post our chats with authors on Tuesdays, but we're trying something new today. Instead of asking one author several questions, we've asked several authors just one question. Please leave a comment and let us know how you like this format. We'll choose one commenter to win a copy of Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver on audio CDs (or something else from our stacks).

Question: Which speculative fiction writer has had the greatest influence on your own writing style and what, specifically, do you find most inspirational about that writer’s style?

Daniel Abraham / M.L.N. Hanover: Read More