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March in Country [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

E. E. Knight , Christian Rummel , Inc. Brilliance Audio

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Book Description

Aug. 3 2010 Vampire Earth Series (Book 9)
The race is on to claim the area between the Ohio River and Tennessee. What's left of the resistance is hiding out in the tangle of the central Kentucky hills - leaving the powerful, well-organized Kurian vampires the opportunity to fill the void. Major David Valentine knows there's only one way for them to find help before the Kurians settle in: a desperate dash by hijacked rail, followed by a harrowing river journey. Valentine unites friends old and new in the effort - but the Kurian Order won't easily yield the blood-soaked Kentucky soil.

Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio on MP3-CD Lib Ed; Library edition (Aug. 3 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441868119
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441868114
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 18.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g

Product Description

About the Author

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 Web site at vampjac.com or his blog, Bohemian Word Werks.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Site Green, the Pennyroyal of Kentucky, February of Fifty-sixth Year of the Kurian Order: the violent winter, the worst in living memory for even the outdoorsy locals, has ebbed at last. Nothing that might be called spring warms the sky; rather, it is a quiet between-season pause, like the lassitude between the break in a life-threatening fever and actual recovery.

"Damn near as bad as '76 – 7," would, in time, become the new standard for calamity of war or weather, depending on how the individual in question labeled it. Youngsters would later recall the onset of the winter blizzards followed hard by the terrible ravies virus outbreak that blossomed in screams and death. Flight, cold, hunger, fear–everything turned upside down in the deep snow.

While the disease strain was the deadliest yet unleashed on mankind, it did not have nearly the calamitous effect of the original appearance, in that dreadful summer of 2022 when the Kurians first appeared. Then, ravies struck like something dreamed up in an apocalyptic horror movie with terrible effect. The saviors-turned-soulstealers appeared in the wake of a perfect storm of natural disaster and disease, offering aid and comfort that soon transitioned to enslavement and death once they had the half-starved, bewildered population properly under their control.

But Kentucky of 2076 wasn't the civilized world of 2022. From the Bluegrass to the Jackson Purchase, a network of clans who ranched Kurian-introduced legworms—and yes, some horses as well—toughened by years of squabbles with each other and bitter fighting against those who tried to incorporate them into the Kurian Order grazed their herds and preserved their independence. Their wary, well-armed neutrality made this limestone-hilled country the Switzerland of the eastern half of the United States. Yes, they sold the Kurians legworm meat and allowed a few towers along the main rail arteries, but if a Kurian ventured outside the urban centers with their Reapers, they lost enough avatars to make "free-ranging" futile in the careful cost/benefit analysis of the Kurian Order.

When Kentucky dropped its guarded neutrality briefly enough to allow rebel forces to cross its territory with the aid of a few clans hungry for real freedom, Kur unleashed its fury—first with the murderous Moondagger fanatics and, when that failed, with a virus designed to wipe the slate clean.

There were losses, whole settlements and clans wiped out, but it was not the cleansing the Kurians had hoped for, especially in the rugged fastness of south-central Kentucky.

However, much of the Western Coal Fields and the axe-handle of Kentucky's Pennyroyal region were emptied as what was left of the locals fled to the protection of Kentucky's military in the heartland or the tiny bastion of Southern Command south of Evansville.

With frost and flurries still washing across the state on cold mornings, the Kurian Order seeks to take advantage of the emptiness. Nature abhors a vacuum, the unnature of the vampiric Kurian Order exploits one.

The Georgia Control, a manufacturing center for eastern North America, has the audacity and the organization to swallow such a huge bite of territory. Why the Western Tennessee Kurians, a looser organization called the Nashville Concordance, agreed to support the endeavor that would add so much to the Control's dominance in the region is a matter of some dispute. The various Kurian states are notorious for their plotting and backstabbing. Georgia either offered up a king's ransom in auras or the Concordance Kurians believed that where their northern brethren had bled and failed, southerners would do no better and a weakened Georgia Control would be much to their advantage.

There are other less likely guesses, of course, but those disputes are for the philosophers. Let us return to the beginning of the latest bid for Kentucky's rich hills and bottoms.

Signs that spring might be ready to appear are all around Central City, what used to be a little crossroads town near the old Green River Correctional Complex. Geese and ducks alight in the lakes and swamps northwest of town, drawn north by the warmth to their traditional nesting areas. Yellow coltsfoot blossoms—a local remedy for a lingering winter cough and sore throat—are beginning to open along the old roadsides, as if eager for the sun, though the roads are little better than broken-up streams of pavement filled with scrub growth and mudslide, a jeep trail at best.

The abandoned prison complex now houses birds, bats, and a multitude of hornet's nests at the top and everything from wild pigs to black bears on the bottom floors, with rats running between. For the Kurians, putting the stout concrete buildings in order and installing new glass and flooring can wait. The raccoons and owls will reign for a few weeks more everywhere but one office the engineers cleared in order to complete a survey of what needed to be done to restore the structure.

The future Kurian tower will need holding cells and forced-labor housing.

Noisy activity can be seen and heard around the clock at a construction site outside the defunct prison, on a patch of earth where the ground begins to rise between the prison and Central City. Two small signs identify it as SITE GREEN, one just off old state Route 277 and one off 602, both of which have been cleared of brush and tree growth by hungry-mouthed chippers for easier passage of equipment.

Two wire-fenced camps, one for the uniformed soldiers of elite Nashville Concordance Guard on temporary lease to the Georgia Control and police of the Clarksville Border Troop and another for the worksite proper, snuggle side by side like a pair of pellet-chewing rabbits, both covered by towers, zeroed-in mortars and machine guns and ever-vigilant guarded gates. The military camp is thick with green tents. The construction fencing guards what is currently a deep hole and a few mounds of construction materials and piles of steel reinforcing rods, with a cement-mixing facility blistered out of the side like a growth.

The race to fill the vacuum is begun. It would appear the Kurians were first off their marks.

As the sun set at Site Green on, appropriately enough, Valentine's Day, the other team joined the race. It seems an uneven contest. On the one side in this bit of empty are five companies of hired professional soldiers in the light butter color of Nashville khaki, their support staff and heavy weapons crews, police and reconnaissance auxiliaries, construction machinery, experts, technicians, strong-backed laborers, and a few cooks and cleaners and supervisors.

On the other is a single man lying as though nested in a patch of hairy vetch, watching the camps turn off and in for the night. He's dressed in a curious assortment of legworm leathers, insulating felt vest and gaiters, canvas trousers, and a nondescript green service jacket with rain hood missing its drawstring. One of the canny, nettle-scratched, and well-nigh uncatchable wild boars who root the nearby Green River marshes might recognize a kindred spirit if he came snout-to-nose with the man. Both know they're a potential meal if they're not careful, both have a dozen tricks to throw off trackers and hunters, or better yet, to avoid being observed in the first place. And both can be unbelievably fast and fierce when cornered.

Scarred on face and missing an earlobe, weathered, and with a few strands of gray in his still-thick black hair, he has an uneven set to his jaw that can look humorous or thoughtful. At the moment you might say thoughtful, thanks to the slow-moving piece of fresh grass shoot working at the right side of his mouth the way a cow absently chews her cud. He's not looking at the military camp. What's behind that wire and passing in and out of the tents has long since been observed, estimated, and recorded in a battered pocket notebook.

Instead he gazes at the mobile-homelike cluster of temporary housing for the most important members of the construction staff, especially the extra-wide one with the words SITE GREEN CONSTRUCTION SUPERVISOR V. CHAMPERS stenciled next to the doorbell.


They're not wasting any time, Valentine thought. Maybe he'd wasted too much, first in Tennessee trying to trace the traffic from the Georgia Control to its terminus, then observing the construction site for two days, slowly devouring his precious supplies—mostly canned WHAM! legworm meat, uninteresting unless you liked faintly barbecued-flavor chewing exercises—he'd brought.

After a long session of sassafrass tea-fueled negotiations with shifty backwoods family of smuggled-goods dealers—he turned over the Pooter and its contents. He'd finally settled on a well-fitting pair of snake-proof military boots, two bottles of bonded bourbon, and a sum of Nashville cash he suspected was counterfeit, He kept only an Atlanta Youth Vanguard star-cluster leader key fob and a mobile file cabinet stuffed with papers and marked ASST. STAFF FACILITATOR MACON.

He'd spent a lot of time reading, while watching the construction site and getting a feel for its rhythms.

He waited, reading and watching, lying like a snake in the tall grass on an old saddle-sheepskin so dirty the mottled brown passed for camouflage. Dirty or not, it still protected his belly from the cold earth. Beside him, in a protective deerskin sheath, his Atlanta-built Type Three, 7.62 mm, four feet of match-barrel battle rifle, waited like a sleeping friend.

He hoped it would stay sheathed for the night.

When his hard-running Wolves had first reported the construction and military traffic—one of the long-range patrols had cut across a road leading back to Clarksville recently used and partially cleared and sensibly followed it north to the source—he'd taken the matter up with Colonel Lambert. Their bloodied-but-still-training companies...

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enough to keep fans interested but not quite a hit Jan. 9 2011
By Gemini Thielman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
E.E. Knight's ninth entry in the Vampire Earth series, March In Country, is a pleasant surprise after the last few clunkers but still fails to advance the story in any real fashion. While a major Kurian in Atlanta has designs on taking over wartorn Kentucky, Major Valentine has his own plans to repopulate the area with Golden Ones. Will Valentine be able to locate and move grogs from a faraway enclave while just about every faction is allied against him?
While the story and prose kept my interest, the plot for these books just barely continues to plod along. The usual cast of secondary characters are involved (Duvalier, Ahn-Kha, Lambert) but none of them are fleshed out. Blake is seen briefly. A 4th type of hunter is mentioned and is almost immediately discarded. Ahn-Kha and Valentine swear vengeance against General Martinez but this will probably not happen until somewhere around book no. 22.
I admit that I love end of the world tales and Vampire Earth is a doozy. Aliens and their giant nigh-unstoppable soldiers who literally suck the life out of you? Heck yeah? The earth is destroyed through natural disasters, disease and famine and the human population has been reduced to virtual slavery? Tell me more! From the high of the first few books, this series has been something of a letdown. By the ninth book, our hero, Valentine, is already an old man at 30, who loves killing, is an absentee father to his half-alien "son", Blake, but is someone who will risk everything for the sake of his companions and of the innocent.
Is this it for humanity? Besides a relatively small area of the central southern U.S. most of humanity is allied with their alien overlords. And even Southern Command is in a defensive posture. Valentine and his crew are virtually cutoff from any meaningful support. And while virtually every book features the death of a Kurian or two, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of more aliens to fill in the gap. At this rate, E.E. Knight could write fifty books and still not a lot would happen.
I like this series; I always have. But I definitely am not looking forward to reading the next edition anywhere near as much as I used to.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knight brings it back! Jan. 4 2011
By G. Gooc - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The last few books in the Vampire Earth series haven't been particularly good. In fact I'd go so far to say that the previous entry, Winter Duty, almost made me give up on the series. It just seems that Valentine has been either depressed, or in depressed circumstances for so long, that it's hard to enjoy the series.

I'm happy to say that Knight once again got "it" right with March In Country. Old characters are reintroduced, new ones are added in almost perfectly, and enemies made several books ago are finally starting to show their hand. The majority of the book is spent with Valentine, venturing once again into Kurian controlled land, only this time to "rescue" some old friends. While the premise is fairly simplistic, the journey helps to flesh out the Vampire Earth world, as well as fill in plot holes from previous books.

Overall I'm quite satisfied with March, it's a short read that once again gets the formula right. I enjoyed it from cover to cover.

**The only real problem I had with the purchase was the price. Seriously, $12 for an ebook? I realize publishers are trying to protect their precious hardcover sales, but all they're doing is pushing me into only buying from my favorite authors, instead of being more adventurous with my purchases. Not exactly a brilliant economic plan.**
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enough FILLER!!! Jan. 14 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
How long are we going to keep going without getting anywhere? There has been no closure in the past three books of this series. I have loved this series since the beginning so I still gave this a 4 star but for someone that does not have time and money invested in this series and author wait until the cheaper priced edition comes out for Kindle.

I thought that since we have spent the last two books on the same story line that we would see some movement in the series. There are still TONS of un-resolved story lines in this book. Did finally see about a new hunter group but not fleshed out much at all. I am really still waiting for a real Bear moment from Valentine. He has had a few but I would really like to see him finally cut loose and see what would happen. The story line IMHO is setting up for another betrayal with Martinez in charge of Southern Command. The story line needs to get something done with this, in previous books, Valentine did not leave anyone behind him that he had a personal grudge with, now it seems that the author is simply seeing how many enemies he can line up at one time, Martinez, Seattle Kurian, etc... Want to see some more movement in the story line. There is some in this book but we really need to see Valentine in the trenches again not in a strategic position....
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh Dec 13 2011
By Kelsey Coleman-Stark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not quite the utter rubbish that was Winter Duty; but you'll still find the style and technical accuracy of the book lacking when compared to the earlier novels.

I'd say: read the early novels if you can bring yourself to jump ship before you hit Winter Duty. THOSE at least, are well worth reading.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Go Anywhere....yet. April 27 2011
By Barry M. Gold - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been a VERY faithful reader of EE Knights "Vampire Earth" series. I was hoping for a bit more from this book. Even though this book is a little short, it doesn't forward the story that much if at all. Unless Mr. Knight comes up with a blockbuster for his next book, this will more than likely be the last book that I will read in this series. He either needs to end the series within the next couple of books or really forward the story.

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