The Dark­est Hour

Tony Schu­mach­er
  • Review
By – April 28, 2015

The Dark­est Hour, Tony Schumacher’s debut nov­el, can be con­sid­ered an alter­nate his­to­ry of World War II that ques­tions moral­i­ty. Through the char­ac­ters’ eyes, read­ers exam­ine if it is even pos­si­ble to redeem one­self after com­mit­ting ter­ri­ble acts. Could the British peo­ple become like the Nazis, and what doors would some­one open to survive?

The plot begins with Ger­many con­trol­ling West­ern Europe after a pact is signed in 1946. The Ger­mans are occu­py­ing Great Britain using bru­tal­i­ty, fear, and group­think to con­trol the Eng­lish. The main char­ac­ter is John Ros­sett, who won the Vic­to­ria Cross for res­cu­ing his fel­low sol­diers from Dunkirk. After the war he returns home to find that his wife and son have been killed by a bomb that was meant for the Ger­man author­i­ties. He is cho­sen to work in the Office of Jew­ish Affairs, cre­at­ed to hunt down and round up the Jews for depor­ta­tion. He attempts to fool him­self into believ­ing that they are sent to France as labor­ers, nev­er ques­tion­ing and will­ing­ly believ­ing the pro­pa­gan­da. He goes along to get along until he finds Jacob, the grand­son of some­one he knew. Deter­mined to find redemp­tion and to find a pur­pose to his life, he decides to save this one boy who deserved the chance of life and love.” In his attempt to help Jacob escape to Amer­i­ca, Ros­sett must bat­tle the Resis­tance and the Nazis, who have their own agen­da for want­i­ng Jacob dead.

At times reac­tions vary from lik­ing and root­ing for cer­tain char­ac­ters to utter dis­taste. The author nev­er allows the read­er to for­get that, although Ros­sett is a redeemable hero, he has a sul­lied past. Does one good action nul­li­fy the pre­vi­ous bad ones? This hero is a com­plex char­ac­ter who is emo­tion­al­ly dam­aged, attempt­ing to save his soul by offer­ing Jacob a future, turn­ing from an evil per­son who assist­ed in the dirty work to a car­ing res­cuer. Ros­sett is con­trast­ed with SS Offi­cer Ernst Koehler, who on the sur­face is very like­able, but in real­i­ty is a sin­is­ter fig­ure who cares lit­tle about human life.

The Dark­est Hour is the first in a series of books about the Ger­man occu­pa­tion of Eng­land.” Through­out the thrilling sto­ry­line is a moral­is­tic thread. This book is a page-turn­er with engag­ing char­ac­ters, plot twists, and an intel­li­gent, thought-pro­vok­ing storyline.

Relat­ed Content:


Read Elise Coop­er’s inter­view with Tony Schu­mach­er here.

Elise Coop­er lives in Los Ange­les and has writ­ten numer­ous nation­al secu­ri­ty arti­cles sup­port­ing Israel. She writes book reviews and Q and A’s for many dif­fer­ent out­lets includ­ing the Mil­i­tary Press. She has had the plea­sure to inter­view best­selling authors from many dif­fer­ent genres.

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