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Appalachian Overthrow: A Novel of the Vampire Earth by E.E. Knight
Cover Artist: Per Haagensen
Review by Mel Jacob
Roc Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451414441
Date: 02 April 2013 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

The tenth novel in E.E. Knight's Vampire Earth series departs from David Valentine and focuses on the Golden One, Ahn-Kha, a Wookie-like creature. David, aided by Ahn-Kha and others, leads a rebellion against the alien Kur who prolong their lives by absorbing the essence of humans via their creatures, the Reapers. Reapers kill humans sucking their blood and passing the life essence onto the Kur who controls them.

Separated from Valentine, Ahn-Kha must fend for himself in hostile territory. He is in Coal Country, which includes the mountainous region of West Virginia and parts of other former states. Boundaries changed after 2022 when the Kur invaded Earth. Ahn-Kha is an anomaly in the region, and the authorities are uncertain what to do with him. They use Grey Ones, similar in some ways, but smaller and less intelligent, for menial tasks. Except for his size, they see him in a similar light.

He is placed as a security guard to a member of the ruling family, the Maynes. The job involves travel all over Coal Country. On one such trip, he views the killing of many innocents over an uprising about missing cookware. The slaughter angers the hill people and leads to sabotage of trains and mines.

Initially, Maynes is semi-benign, but after his sister is taken, he turns nasty and focuses on seducing young girls. Drunk most of the time, he eventually has an accident and Ahn-Kha takes off, but eventually is captured and sent to the mines. The unrest grows throughout Coal Country.

Ahn-Aka waxes lyrical in some passages, but the lack of transitions or continuity in places in the narrative makes the action difficult to follow at times. His interactions with the Reapers and the Kur are especially interesting. It probably will get a mixed reaction from dedicated Knight readers.

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