Cover Image: Darkness


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Lieutenant Jack Falco said goodbye to his wife and daughter, three hours later, they, along with half the world's population were dead. Jack struggles through the days, weeks and months that come after, trying to cope with a loss that he feels responsible for, when the day finally comes that he has decided to end it all and join his family, he is stopped in the nick of time by an old friend. This old friend offers him an alternative to his dark ending, become a Captain on a long haul space craft and head out to Station Pluto. He accepts.
After five years of travel, Falco and his crew arrive at Station Pluto, their task is to look for anomalies surrounding the station and find out what's causing them. What no one expects is for the crew to stumble upon an ancient civilisation who collect worlds and expand in a cloud of black. This may be the war of all wars, the biggest one humanity has had to face, will they survive?

I loved the sound of this story. The strange civilisation that is found living in a black cloud that spans the vast majority of unexplored space, just tingled my creep vibe so much that I just HAD to request it. I did enjoy this story, but I found that for the most part, it is extremely long winded, though while I was reading, I was wondering whether or not I would have felt I had enough information had chunks been edited out.

This is a slow burn science fiction and it does have it's charm. It's a third person narrative that switches view between a few of the human characters, namely following Captain Jack Falco though, and it also switches to the view of the Oortian's, the alien civilisation that we encounter. I found this to be an incredibly interesting tactic as for me, the alien movies and stories that I know and love (Alien and Predator franchises, I'm looking at you!), I think part of the 'horror' of these stories is that, we have no idea what the alien's want. We don't know what their goals are, what their lives are like, what they are all about. And this creates some of the unrest and terror in the audience (in my opinion anyway). So I found it super interesting that Richmond gives us a look into the Oortian's, we hear their thoughts, their feelings, we learn of their history. At first, I didn't think I liked it and felt that the book would have been better had these chapters just been left out, but as I journeyed through the story and reached the end, I feel like I actually enjoyed reading things from the defenders point of view. Because that's what they are, we learn this very early on, they're defending their territory against the invaders with the big metal carapaces. Overall, I was rooting for the humans of course, because I became quite endeared to Holts, Falco, Shar'ran, Wallace and the rest, they're interesting characters with enough backstory for me to see them as real, and enjoy their stories.

Having the sympathy for the alien side was a great addition to this story and I feel like it really rounded the world out. In no way are we influenced on who's side we should take, it's purely the reader's decision. I actually felt sorry for the Krells, for the young Prox, and for the last LOR that was named. They're doing what they've been raised to do, battling the invaders and hoping to go into the Realm of Warriors. And at certain points, when you look at it, the humans are the same.

I've read a few reviews who either DNF'd this book, or finished it and gave it a poor rating based on the SCIENCE part of the story. I'm interested in science, I always have been, I'm not well versed in Physics, though it really does interest me, and I feel like this actually served me well. It allowed me to enjoy the story for what it was, science FICTION, instead of getting hung up on the physical impossibilities because, you know, PHYSICS. I get the annoyance when things aren't inherently following specific rules of existence, I get it, but this is science fiction, it does not give the impression that everything in this story will stay true to the physics side of things, it's purely for enjoyment. And in a fictional world, anything is possible. So if you're science minded and are well versed in the laws of physics and such, try and go into this book with an open mind, try not to get hung up on the small things that aren't possible, please just enjoy it as it was intended. You may find you really enjoy the story in the end.

One things that I didn't quite understand, the beginning of the book is where we first meet Falco, his wife, and their daughter. This whole big thing goes down and half the world dies. It honestly didn't have any driving force for the story, it didn't seem like an important plot point other than being the reason that Falco was about to kill himself when he was visited and given the ultimatum to go to Station Pluto. Yes, he thinks about his wife and daughter a lot, and they are mentioned, the incident that took down half the world is mentioned and his guilt for it is to. I just didn't see the point of that whole part of the story though, to me, it didn't explain or round out his character in any specific way, I feel like we still would have had the same character had his wife and daughter not existed. I feel like he could have been approached to take this mission on in another way through another situation, but that's just me.

I loved the descriptions of the Oortian's. Some of them are just downright disturbing and I loved it. I love the parallels that we see with creatures known to humans later on in the story, and I loved reading about them and their thoughts and such, I did however get a bit tired of reading 'Realm of Warriors', it's mentioned a lot at the start.

Overall the writing was good, though I found that my ARC copy had a lot of grammatical errors which I'm hoping were fixed up prior to the official release of this story. All in all, the story ends well enough, but is obviously still left open for the continuation of the series, I believe I will be continuing with this as I'm super curious to see where it ends up.
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"Darkness" eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Lain Richmond ( This is Mr. Richmond's first published novel. It is the first of his planned "Oortian Wars" series. 

I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the not too distant future. The primary character is Captain Jack Falco of the United Nations Navy. 

Falco is a hero of a war with North Korea, though it has left him a widower. Now he has reluctantly taken a commission as Captain of the Cyclone Class deep space scout ship Anam Cara. Falco, and the Anam Cara, will be on a 15-year mission to the Oort Cloud. They are there to investigate anomalies around Station Pluto.

To the surprise of everyone, Falco and his crew discover that the dark cloud in that part of space is home to an alien race that has been disturbed by the human presence. The alien civilization is far older than Earth and they have a history of violence. Before long that violence is turned on the human presence and Earth is soon at war. 

I generally enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this 462-page science fiction novel. I liked the overall story and the characters, though I had some problems with the story when it switched to the alien's point of view. Their thought process was hard to follow and it almost made me want to call a Rule of 50 on the book and drop it. The cover art is OK, but I would have preferred something more in line with the story. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

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When a suicidal military space captain finds redemption in a new mission to Pluto, he ends up facing a threat that has the potential to take over our solar system and wipe out all of humanity. How can he defend the homeworld against this unstoppable force with superior numbers whose members are willing to sacrifice themselves with total disregard? 

This is the dilemma that the book’s story is wrapped around. It’s an exciting story from a new author who has adopted a military space opera formulary that works. “Darkness” is the first in this series. While the book is summarized sufficiently to be a complete read, it does leave a hint as to the beginning to the next book in the series.

“Darkness” is a good read for any military space opera fan.
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Definitely outside my comfort zone, but Darkness is a great space opera. It is very exciting and I did not want to put it down
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I received this eARC from publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Darkness by Iain Richmond was a supremely long and very detailed read. I loved the premise: a captain and his crew fighting aliens. While it was entertaining and definitely action-packed, it almost felt (dare I say)…boring. I normally do not have that much time for reading, especially during the school year, so when I started reading this book, it literally took me over a month to finish. I quickly lost track of who was who and what was happening. However, I did enjoy the world-building and the alien character development. This would be a great read for an uninterrupted reading time and for those who love sci-fi and long, action-packed stories.
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There's a lot to talk about with this book--starting with the fact that there's physically a lot to read. This book is a whopping 90 chapters (and not tiny ones either). So be prepared to dig in for a long haul. 

This is a space opera, yes. But, in my opinion, it's not a particularly character-driven one. The book has a fairly brief set up where you get to know Captain Jack Falco (in an earlier war) and his crew (during their trip to Pluto). However, after they all arrive at the Pluto space station, we're treated to pretty much non-stop action/battle scenes with The Oortian alien race for the remainder of the book. 

The first words that spring to mind when describing this book are "meticulous" and "tactical." I think anyone who reads this book would give the author props for the detailed world-building (both the Pluto space station and the alien world) and the tactical information that sets up each of these battle scenes (later in the book they all come together and we toggle between multiple fronts in an epic space battle.) These details leave us with some indelible images and gives a view of the action that's so descriptive it's almost cinematic. 

Basically this author knows space battles and describes them to the reader in a level of detail that makes you think he'd fought them his whole life. If that's what you like, you'll love this book.

However, the problem for me was that's not entirely what I like. I like characters. For me personally, knowing about the people IN the battle is what makes the battle interesting and emotionally engaging. Unfortunately, although I liked all of the characters in this book (particularly Captain Yu Fei and his crew's story) I didn't think they were very thoroughly or deeply drawn. Ultimately, they're more archetypes (jokey Scotsman, Buddha-like Tibetan, etc) than actual people with hopes and dreams and back stories. 

As a woman, I have to say I was particularly annoyed with the character of "Ensign Holts" who is basically the stereotypical "lone babe in the room" for much of this book. Every scene she's in basically consists of the Captain remarking on her stunning beauty, her brilliance, her fortitude, but he never really makes an effort to get to know her in any way (nor does the author explore her backstory, or that of anyone else on Jack's crew for that matter). We don't know what Holts likes, why she's there, why she might like the Captain, if she scared. She's just "stunning babe the Captain can't get out of his head" for the entire book whom we all know the the Captain will eventually bang. That was disappointing.

I guess I was surprised that the human characters were so wooden considering the author had no such problems with the ALIEN character development. Again, he does a Herculean job in this book of creating an entire alien world and describing its history and culture, its warning clans and their hierarchy. He also shines a spotlight on a number of key alien characters--mainly female--and we learn a lot about their feelings, hopes and fears. I found that to be a weird dichotomy.

Ultimately, those are small quibbles and matters of personal preference. Thanks to the author and NetGalley for granting me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Out of this world, pun itended. 
Darkness is the first of Oortian War series and takes us through the process of discovering an alien civilization with simultaneous existence to our own. Each momnet leads up to a major war fueled by warrior's rage and compassion. The hero is a respectable, smart and tactical man but there are others who outshine him and the story becomes greater then this one man. 
For all those with some understanding of the military and deep space technology, this will be much better read than the mundane me. As a science fiction, there are more mysteries and plots to uncover in the story.
The ending was no cliffhanger but understandably being the first book, the story leaves much to be desired in terms of character's story arc.
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Darkness, Book One of the Oortian Wars is a spellbinding tale twisting through a brutal yet beautiful universe populated with engaging characters and relatable (human) technology. 

This initial salvo into the Oortian Wars series sparks thought in the reader far beyond the page. The Oortians and humans are as alien to one another in form and thinking as any 'adversaries' I have come across. Mr. Richmond's voice and style are as unique as the worlds he has created. The reader effortlessly travels the path of plot and story, but at times must make their own decision on what they are 'seeing.' It was gripping to feel like I was discovering things first hand as the story plays out, instead of being 'spoonfed.'. 

The action has meaning, the characters have depth, and the world-building is unique. I highly anticipate the next installment.
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Richmond is a new and unique voice, creating an unusual universe. As a science nerd, I can tell you the 'Tech' and background info are spot-on and in the realm of possibility 200+ years from now (which I appreciate in science fiction novels).  There is an underlying grit mixed with solid dialogue, and as other reviewers have mentioned, the diversity of characters is uncommon.

Battle scenes, comradery, and doom seamlessly come and go at a nice clip while the Oortian civilization is memorably 'alien' without falling into the 'evil creatures' looking to destroy humanity, convention! Instead, there is a nuanced dance between races as they decide what to do– No spoilers!

Great cast and in Space Opera tradition, Captain Falco is the lead, but just barely. Immense possibilities for the series moving forward and Darkness, Book One of the Oortian Wars is a notable novel with depth, cunning, and spirit.

Bring on book two!
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Richmond has created a fast-paced, well-founded novel. Encapsulating the novel in the world of science fiction, and building a conceptual world where anything is possible, Richmond ticks all the boxes. Terrorists destroy the majority of earth's population, including the protagonists family. So through a series of very well-written impactful events, he finds himself on an Earth station set-up near Pluto. But, everything is going wrong (from debris, and asteroids and beyond). But, then someone notices a dark spot, where nothing can be seen - enter the Oortian Wars. 

But the novel doesn't stop there. Richmond continues to build a world, and characters which develop in the most intricate ways, intertwining and wrapping around each other with a great deal of deliberate and delicacy.
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DNF. Did not see the interesting details that others found in this book. The Dark Matter and Dark Energy that is arrayed beyond the Solar System Is where the aliens reside. It apparently takes up 95% of the universe. If so how can we see so much with our telescopes? The alternate chapters the have Oortians have conversations and making battle plans are confusing and do not add to the understanding of the Cloud.
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First, I need to thank the publisher and Net Galley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
It doesn't take long for this book to get moving. It starts with terrorists killing a huge part of the earth's population. Then Earth sets up a station near Pluto, but things keep going wrong.... Seems like asteroids and debris constantly breaking the satellite link with Earth. Then someone notices a 'dark area' past the station, where nothing can be seen. Welcome to the Oortian Wars!
Science fiction loaded with science - gotta love it! The characters and their opponents are great and the action kept twisting right up to the end - at least until the next installment!
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Well crafted novel with an intriguing storyline and solid (uncommonly diverse) central character development (humans/Oortians). Richmond shines in creating the foundation for a longterm series. Book One needs to provide a full spectrum of 'character options' for a series to hold readers and build a following. Darkness, Book One of the Oortian Wars deftly succeeds.  Once the Oortian Wars finds 'its' readers, it has great potential, as does its author. The diversity of characters on both the human and Oortian sides is impressive and should speak to European, African and Asian markets.

Professionally crafted (cover, design, editing, writing), unique 'universe' with gripping characters, and plenty of intrigue and action for fans of Space Opera, Military SciFi, and First Contact. Highly recommend: bookstores, library's, sci-fi fans.
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While this tale has the typical elements of a military space fiction, I am not a fan of the thing that makes this story distinctive: multiple POV. Some readers might like the idea of being able to get inside the heads of all the players, I find the head-hopping a bit confusing and hard to follow. I don't know that I need to know what everyone is thinking. One might wonder whether this story would be better told from the POV of the aliens, so that the reader could spend more time in their world.
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My review of the Darkness is from the perspective of a bookseller. The cover is eye-catching and represents the storyline. The editing is solid, and the writing is tight and reflects the expectations of the Space Opera genre with battle scenes that rival most military/marine/fleet science fiction. 

Where things get interesting, unique and where Iain Richmond separates himself from many current series, is the pace of the novel and the captivating Oortian civilization. It comes on like the gentle tapping of a drum that quickly builds into the pounding of a battle charge (waves hitting the shoreline). I want to know more about the principal characters and the Oortians, and this is the highest compliment I can bestow.

Our store will carry, Darkness, Book One of the Oortian Wars and future books in the series. I highly recommend Darkness, Book One of the Oortian Wars by Iain Richmond.

**I would also like to thank Rogue Planet Publishing for offering the paperback & hardback through INGRAM from the start. Very helpful for bookstores.
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The initial chapters drew me in... to the point I emailed Mr. Richmond a question and was surprised to get a prompt response. I enjoyed the pace, more like a rollercoaster ramping up than all-out action at all costs. The 'feel' of the book is unusual, like a storm slowly building or a growing shadow. I felt the loneliness of deep space in a small ship creeping in, the knowledge that help is five years away. 

 Great start from a new author offering an original, creative spin on Space Opera/Military sci-fi. I found the Oortian civilization fascinating! It sounds like Planet Stealers (Book Two) is well on its way, and I look forward to reading it. Highly recommend (I read the book over a couple of days).
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Book One is a thought-provoking and Robust foundational piece for a science fiction series. 

Excellent world-building without excess, strong key characters with room to 'flesh' them out. Interesting and novel (very rare) alien civilization (Ooritians) creating the potential for immense reader intrigue. 

Darkness, Book One of the Oortian Wars, is highly sellable/marketable to the science fiction community.

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Fantastic space opera and a gutsy, no holds barred series entry,

While there are plenty of battle scenes and action, what sets, Darkness, Book One of the Oortian Wars apart is the subtle empathy that runs through many of the characters. They hesitate to 'pull the trigger.' The Oortian civilization is one of the most unique I have come across in a long time with depth and intrigue that is fascinating (I'll leave it at that so not to spoil the book).

The key characters are rich in the order they should be (crucial to sidekicks), and I found myself wanting to know more but appreciated that Richmond feeds us crumbs along the way. I read this book straight through and enjoyed the ride.

A gutsy and no holds barred series entry, and  I look forward to reading the next installment, Planet Stealers.

5-Star (solid)
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Just couldn't get into it.  Lots of intro with the protagonist saying goodbye to his wife and daughter before his friend comes to get him to blast off into space on a secret mission.  This wasn't engaging at all and the backstory could've waited until later in the book.  Reads like a first book that an editor needed to spend more time on.
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Gripping book!  Could not put it down.  It's a fast paced engrossing tale about our first contact at edge of solar system.  Richmond kept me riveted to his story. Can't wait for sequel.
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