Knight's superb post-apocalyptic science fiction series continues with this newest installment. For those readers who are wary of "horror" stories, keep in mind that the term Vampire Earth is somewhat misleading, as the story concerns humankind's attempts to fight back against an overwhelming alien invasion that has taken over our planet. The aliens exhibit certain vampire-like traits, but virtually all of the action takes place in a devastated America of the near future, and the tale stands firmly in the tradition of science fiction adventure, not Salem's Lot. This incidentally allows Knight to indulge in one of his many strengths, the detailed and quite plausible extrapolation of how society might evolve in the aftermath of intelligent but malevolent beings controlling us.
Valentine's Resolve continues protagonist David Valentine in exile from Southern Command, one of the main military resistance forces still functioning. The opening chapter, with Valentine completing a bloody vendetta for personal reasons, is some of Knight's most harrowing and graphic writing to date. He pulls no punches in this novel.
Despite Valentine's position as a military fugitive, he is tasked by some of his former comrades to undertake a very difficult mission to determine the strengths and intentions of another resistance movement in the Pacific Northwest. This forms the bulk of the plot, and to avoid spoilers, I won't elaborate.
Instead, I'll just point out two additional strengths of Knight's writing that keep impressing me book after book. First, despite this being the sixth entry in this series, the book never feels formulaic. Indeed, none of them do. Knight manages again and again to inject fresh concepts into his plotline, and develop Valentine in surprisingly clever and unexpected ways, without sacrificing the underlying story, which is how can humanity wrest its home back from the invaders, and at what cost will this struggle ultimately occur?
Second, Knight is an absolute master of that old adage, "show, don't tell." Every new culture, from the alien-supported Pyp's Flying Circus to the stunted political organization in Mt. Omega, to the twisted, savage resistance force around Seattle, is rendered brilliantly through the plausible actions and dialogue of the characters, not in stiff exposition like so many other writers of this sort of sci-fi fall prey to.
In other words, you live Valentine's discoveries, right along with him. It makes for a very immediate and exciting novel. Knight is crafting perhaps the best example of this sort of science fiction ever written. It ranks right up there with David Gerrold's unfinished War Against the Chtorr, but Knight has the advantage of publishing on a regular basis, with a clear long-range plan. You won't be waiting ten years or more between books. I can't recommend Vampire Earth highly enough, and Valentine's Resolve does not disappoint.