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“Darkest Hour”


5 Small Stars
Darkest Hour
John Walker writes good science fiction even if it’s almost the same story-line.  If you’ve had the opportunity to read two of his other series, “Rise of Mankind” and “Legacy War”, you’ll notice that he has one single starship from Earth as the main platform for humanities venture into space.  In this book, it’s no different.  The “Leviathan” awaits its maiden voyage deep in a secret hanger on Earth ran by the Space Agency.
The Leviathan is a battleship and the first and only one of its kind built by humanity.  Humans have just started exploring their own galaxy and have barely started colonizing the moon. Humans are excited and looking forward to vast explorations of space to find out just what’s out there.  Only, what’s out there comes to visit Earth way sooner than they had anticipated.
A gigantic spaceship has just appeared between the Earth and the moon.  It is round and perfectly smooth and definitely a construct of some kind.  Humans do just what they normally do when confronted with the unknown and frightening, they panic.  Every kook and crackpot comes out of the woodwork and starts spreading doom and gloom predicting that this is the invasion that will end everything.  Yet, nothing has happened.  The giant spaceship just sits there.
Being very curious beings, we can’t leave anything alone for long.  We send up to shuttles to see what this space craft is really like hoping to get some good scans of it’s surface. Unfortunately, one of these unarmed shuttles apparently gets too close and is hit with what turns out to be an EMP pulse weapon.  That’s shuts down everything on the shuttle and leaves it adrift in space. So now it appears this giant spacecraft is definitely hostile.  They fired first and of course that pisses off the humans.
Still, there’s not much that can be done until the Leviathan can get out of its hanger and into space.  While this will be its maiden voyage, it does seem that it will be the only defensive weapon the Earth has to defend itself now that they know something bad has come to visit.
And they now know it’s bad because the alien spacecraft has launched its own shuttles that have come down through the atmosphere and are now rapidly flying over population areas.  People are panicking like crazy while the alien craft fly over them and shoots a deadly beam down.  No one know what the beam is doing, but the people it targets are suddenly gone.  There is nothing left so everyone just assumes that this is a death ray and it is killing hundreds of thousands of humans.
The Earth needs to defend itself which means the Leviathanneeds to get launched and see what it can do against this evil that has come to Earth.  Only the Leviathan is having a few unexpected problems getting started and it’s also missing its Captain.  Captain Warren Miller has been on vacation and is now trying to get back to the Space Agency base so he can take command of the Leviathan and get it launched.  Only thing is, he’s stuck in traffic.  That same traffic is also the target of one of the alien shuttles.  Soon, Captain Warren Miller is no longer…he just ceases to exist or so it seems.
A really fast-paced story that has some interesting action.  Once again it seems that Earth has gotten themselves into something they are totally unprepared for.  The galaxy is not a friendly place and humanity are about to find out just how unfriendly.  While humans are valued by the galaxy, it’s not so much as for who we are, but what our bodies contain!

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