The Darkest Hour

Written by Tony Schumacher
Review by Jessica Brockmole

The Darkest Hour is an alternative history in which Great Britain has lost the war and is occupied by the German army, the SS, and the Gestapo. King Edward is back on the throne. Churchill and the government are in Canada, and America never entered the war. It takes place in London, 1946. John Rossett, an English war hero, has joined the Metropolitan Police after being released from a German POW camp. While in the camp, an English Resistance bomb has killed his wife and child. He’s lost all loyalty to government. He has no ambitions. Rossett’s only motivation is to complete assignments, which he does with a robot-like perfection.

Then he is transferred to the Bureau of Jewish Affairs. His assignment is to round up Jews and send them away to “work camps in France.” As he is overseeing the transportation of Jews, one calls to him. He recognizes a former neighbor. The old man tells Rossett to go back to his house, and behind a bookcase Rossett will find a treasure. The treasure is a bag of gold sovereigns, a diamond, and the old man’s seven-year-old grandson, who is hiding in the chimney behind the bookcase. Rossett takes the bag and promises to reunite the boy with his grandfather. At this point in the narrative the plot begins a fast-paced roller-coaster journey of twists and turns. None of the characters are exactly who and what they seem.

Tony Schumacher has created a complex character in Rossett, an emotionally damaged man who trusts no one and cares for nothing. This is a spellbinding, exciting, suspenseful novel with a surprising ending. The Darkest Hour is real page-turner.