I thought for sure that there would be no way for Knight to write a followup to Valentine's Rising that could compare with that book. That's what I get for thinking.
Not that I don't think that he's up to the task, it is just that I've found that most serial writers get locked into a predictable formula and/or get mired in minutia and backstory. And with him writing yet another original series as well (Age of Fire), I wasn't going to be disappointed if Valentine's Exile was of lesser quality than Valentine's Rising - I knew it would still be a great read.
Well, consider me overjoyed! Knight has succeeded in creating another absolutely wonderful story in the Vampire Earth setting. The story is thoroughly involved, challenging, and enthralling. I found it extremely difficult to put down as Knight gives the reader a continuously moving plot that keeps the reader guessing and entertained. He has a talent matched by few wherein he delivers enough description to give the reader a detailed image of the setting without detracting from or interrupting the pace of the storyline. His setting, though fantastic, is filled with characters and events that you can visualize without suspending logic or belief. His heroes are wonderfully drawn and complex without the need or want to make them unbelievable superheroes.
Valentine's Exile opens with David taking part in a major offensive against the Kur. The battle is long and costly, with his good friend Post being severely wounded. As a reward for their duty, David and company are given an undesired leave. David decides to use this time in search of Post's wife as a personal favor to him. Accompanied by Duvalier and Ahn-Kha, Valentine travels from one edge of the Midwest to the other discovering intrigue, betrayal, conspiracy, and slimy politics (is there any other kind?). I was pleasantly surprised every step of the way.
The story is gritty, produces a lot of emotion, and is completely entertaining. I rate it as Valentine's Rising's equal (my personal favorite of the series and one of my favorite books of all time).