The Darkest Hour (novel)
First edition cover
|Cover artist||Wayne McLoughlin|
|October 1, 2004|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|Pages||336 (first edition, hardback)|
|ISBN||978-0-06-000007-3 (first edition, hardback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.H916625 Dar 2004|
|Preceded by||A Dangerous Path|
|Followed by||Firestar's Quest
The Darkest Hour is a children's fantasy novel, the sixth and last book in the original Warriors series by Erin Hunter, featuring the fictional character Firestar, a cat. The series centers around a group of wild cats living in four Clans, ThunderClan, RiverClan, WindClan, and ShadowClan. It was published on October 1, 2004, by HarperCollins Publishers. The story chronicles the events directly after A Dangerous Path and leads to the final battle for the forest.
Firestar is now the leader of ThunderClan, following the death of Bluestar and he receives his nine lives at the Moonstone. During the ceremony StarClan tells him the prophecy "Four will become two, Lion and Tiger will meet in battle, and blood will rule the forest". He chooses as his deputy Whitestorm, an experienced warrior who is old, but well-respected in the Clan. At the next Gathering, Tigerstar attempts to unify all four Clans claiming that it would help the Clans survive. While Leopardstar agrees, Tallstar and Firestar both refuse to join this alliance, which Tigerstar has called "TigerClan". Accompanied by Ravenpaw, who is on a visit to ThunderClan, Graystripe and Firestar go to RiverClan and find that Graystripe's kits, Stormpaw and Featherpaw, and Bluestar's kits, Mistyfoot and Stonefur, are being held prisoner because of their half-Clan heritage. Since they are all half-ThunderClan and half-RiverClan, Tigerstar accuses them of being half-Clan cats and therefore, in his opinion, traitors. Firestar, Graystripe, and Ravenpaw manage to rescue Mistyfoot, Stormpaw, and Featherpaw, but Stonefur is killed by Darkstripe and Blackfoot when he refuses to kill Stormpaw, who is also his apprentice.
In an attempt to convince Tallstar and Firestar to join his alliance, Tigerstar reveals to them about the BloodClan, a vicious group of rogues that lives in the alleys of a nearby twolegplace (human town). When both leaders still refuse, Tigerstar then orders BloodClan to fight for him, but they do not do so, as they only listen to the commands of their leader, Scourge. Scourge tells Tigerstar that he is the only cat in charge of BloodClan, and after Firestar tells everyone Tigerstar's bloodthirsty history and that he cannot be trusted to divide power, Scourge decides that there will be no battle. Tigerstar attacks Scourge, but Scrouge then kills him easily with his claws, which are reinforced with dead cats' and dogs' claws, ending all nine of Tigerstar's lives with one blow, by cutting him open from chin to tail. Scourge then gives all of the forest Clans three days to leave; otherwise, they will have to fight BloodClan for the forest. To face this danger, the four Clans unite, forming an alliance which is known as "LionClan". During the battle, Whitestorm is killed by Bone, the BloodClan deputy, but Bone is killed soon afterwards when a group of apprentices avenge Whitestorm's death. The apprentices were Featherpaw, Stormpaw, Tawnypaw, and Bramblepaw. The battle is won when Firestar kills Scourge, though he loses one of his own nine lives in the process. Without its leader, BloodClan scatters. With the forest returned to normal, the four Clans become independent once more.
The book was first released in the US on October 5, 2004, as a hardcover. It was later leased as a paperback on October 4, 2005, and later as an e-book on September 4, 2007. The book has also been published in German, Chinese, Japanese, French, Russian, and Korean.
Bookloons notes that the book "stresses the importance of caring and community". This is shown to be true as the Clans need to work together in order to defeat BloodClan. Normally, the Clans are enemies with one another, and occasionally form alliances with one other Clan, however, all four forest Clans had to cooperate to protect their home from BloodClan.
The Darkest Hour received critical acclaim. Hilary Williamson wrote: "The Darkest Hour is the best yet in this thrilling series of feline adventure, that also stresses the importance of caring and community". A reviewer for Booklist called The Darkest Hour "tension-filled".
- "The Darkest Hour (volume6)". TextBookX.com. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
- "The Darkest Hour by Erin Hunter (Hardcover)". HarperCollins. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
- "Warriors #6: The Darkest Hour by Erin Hunter (Paperback)". HarperCollins. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
- "Warriors #6: The Darkest Hour (AER) by Erin Hunter". HarperCollins. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
- "Band 6 Stunde der Finsternis". warriorcats.de. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
- "晨星網路書店Morningstar::│圖書基本資料│". Morningstar. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
- "Erin Hunter Chat #3 Transcript — part 2". Wands and Worlds. Retrieved 2 March 2008.
- Williamson, Hilary. "The Darkest Hour: Warriors #6 review". Bookloons reviews. Retrieved 27 September 2007.
- "Warriors Series: The Darkest Hour (Warriors #06)". Powell's Books. Retrieved 4 November 2007.