If Fall with Honor seemed to show Valentine maturing as a commander, Winter Duty takes him on a mission to recover some wounded troops that is a lot less interesting than it sounds. Usually the Vampire Earth books move from location to location, but Winter Duty follows up Fall with Honor’s occupation and reconstruction work in Kentucky. Initially that makes for some good reading. Kentucky’s vote for independence and a bombing plot that might have been orchestrated from the inside had potential, but instead Winter Duty takes Valentine away from his men and on a rescue mission with a group of mercs.
The back cover promises that the Kurians mean to kill everyone. The donut man hints at the same. But their plan is tamer and relies on using a biological weapon. Again there are some tense moments, but the whole thing works out with another ridiculously anticlimactic ending with hardly a shot fired.
Winter Duty is among the weaker of the books so far. It detaches Valentine from what seemed like character development on a mission with a matron looking to either save her ranch or bring back her son. It’s okay as an episode of Bonanza, but weak otherwise. The ending moves to an explosive revelation, but Valentine’s decision is incomprehensible.