|"But this was not the time to be careful. The very future of the forest was at stake, balanced on the breadth of a hair between Tigerstar's bloodthirsty quest for power, and the whims of the unknown BloodClan."|
|— Narrator describing the tension in The Darkest Hour, page 228|
The Darkest Hour is the sixth book in The Prophecies Begin arc, formerly known as the Original arc. Firestar is the cat depicted on the original and reprinted cover. It features Firestar as the main protagonist, and Tigerstar is featured in the prologue.
- This book is for Vicky Holmes and Matt Haslum,
- who helped find Fireheart's destiny.
- Thank you.
- Special thanks to Cherith Baldry
- Fire Alone Can Save Our Clan...
- ThunderClan's darkest hour is upon them, as Tigerstar's quest for power plunges the forest into terrible danger. In order to save his friends, Firestar must uncover the meaning of an ominous proclamation from StarClan:
- "Four will become two.
- Lion and tiger will meet in battle,
- and blood will rule the forest."
- The time has come for prophecies to unfold, and for heroes to rise....
"Action-packed. Certain to please any young reader who has ever wondered what dreams of grandeur may haunt the family cat."
- -Publisher's Weekly
"A suspenseful adventure story that urges readers onward."
- -ALA Booklist
Detailed plot description
Looking for a shorter overview? Find one here!
- Tigerstar travels with Boulder to make a deal with Scourge, leader of a group of alley cats from Twolegplace who call themselves BloodClan. Although surprised by how small Scourge is, Tigerstar offers him a share of the forest territory in return for BloodClan helping him to become leader of all four Clans.
- Fireheart becomes the leader of ThunderClan, receiving his nine lives and the name Firestar from StarClan. His leadership ceremony is interrupted near the end when a hill of bones appears in his dream, followed by a river of blood. Bluestar, former leader of ThunderClan, gives him this prophecy: Four will become two. Lion and tiger will meet in battle, and blood will rule the forest. Upon returning, Firestar turns his suspicions to Darkstripe, a former ally of Tigerstar, who has been showing signs of alliance with ShadowClan. Later, Firestar finds Sorrelkit poisoned with chewed up deathberries in her mouth. She later recovers and reveals that Darkstripe fed the berries to her, telling her they were a treat, so she would not tell Firestar about a meeting she'd witnessed between Darkstripe and Blackfoot, the ShadowClan deputy. Darkstripe is exiled from ThunderClan and is suspected to join his former ally, Tigerstar, in ShadowClan.
- At the next Gathering, Tigerstar proposes to unite the other three Clans with ShadowClan to form one larger Clan, TigerClan, and reveals that Leopardstar has already agreed to join RiverClan with ShadowClan. ThunderClan and WindClan refuse the proposal, and Firestar begins to tell the cats of Tigerstar's treachery, but he is stopped as clouds move in, covering the moon, and lightning flashes. Tigerstar interprets this as a sign from StarClan that the meeting is finished.
- Graystripe worriedly wants to check on his kits in RiverClan, Stormpaw and Featherpaw. As Firestar and Graystripe go to leave, they bump into Ravenpaw, who had come to pay his respects to Bluestar. Ravenpaw joins them on their mission. The three cats go to RiverClan and find not only Graystripe's kits, but Mistyfoot and Stonefur being held as prisoners. Tigerstar accuses them of being half-Clan cats and therefore traitors. He orders Stonefur to prove his loyalty to TigerClan by killing the two apprentices, but Stonefur refuses, and is ordered to be killed by Darkstripe. Despite being half-starved and weakened from his imprisonment, Stonefur is able to overpower Darkstripe until Blackfoot jumps in and finishes him off. Stormpaw and Featherpaw are taken back to their prison. Ravenpaw convinces the guard, Jaggedtooth, that he is a RiverClan cat and that Tigerstar has a message for him, and while the guard leaves, the group attempts to escape with the prisoners, but are caught by a TigerClan patrol. The rescuers and the prisoners are saved by a ThunderClan patrol consisting of Cloudtail, Sandstorm, and Thornclaw. TigerClan later that day attacks WindClan and Tigerstar kills an apprentice, Gorsepaw, as a warning while surrounded by his warriors so no cat could reach them.
- When time runs out for Tigerstar's offer to join TigerClan, Firestar and Tallstar prepare to fight. They are shocked by the appearance of BloodClan, a "Clan" from Twolegplace. Tigerstar orders BloodClan to fight for him, yet they make no move. Scourge tells Tigerstar that he is the only cat in charge of BloodClan. Firestar takes the chance to make an impression on Scourge by announcing to the cats of every Clan Tigerstar's bloodthirsty history. Hearing everything, Scourge decides that there will be no battle and he will think about what Firestar had said. Enraged by Scourge's refusal to cooperate, Tigerstar attacks him. Scourge counters his attack and slays Tigerstar easily by slicing him open from chin to tail with his enormous claws, which are reinforced with dog teeth. This devastating blow wipes out all of Tigerstar's nine lives at once. Scourge then gives all of the forest Clans three days to either leave or fight BloodClan for their home in the forest. To face this danger, the four Clans unite and call their alliance LionClan, going into battle against BloodClan. Whitestorm, the ThunderClan deputy, is killed by the BloodClan deputy Bone. Grief and sadness sweeps over Firestar like a wave, seeing his deputy and friend die in front of him. Whitestorm's last wishes were to appoint Graystripe as deputy of ThunderClan, saying that Graystripe was always Firestar's rightful deputy, with which Firestar complies.
- At the end of the battle, Firestar loses his first life to Scourge. He is revived by StarClan, much to Scourge's shock, and kills the BloodClan leader. After Scourge's death, the BloodClan cats scatter in confusion and fall back with no motivation to keep fighting. The last to go are followed in pursuit by Tallstar and a few of his Clanmates. The Clans disband and become independent once more, and the balance of power in the forest is returned to normal.
- A compiled list of the errors present in The Darkest Hour can be found here.
- According to Vicky, the series was always intended to end in a climatic fight between Firestar and Tigerstar; however, one of her colleagues insisted Tigerstar should be killed by another cat and Vicky liked the questions his version left for the characters.
- The Darkest Hour (EN), HarperCollins (hardcover), 5 October 2004
- The Darkest Hour (EN), HarperCollins (paperback), 4 October 2005
- Битва за лес (RU), OLMA Media Group (hardcover), 2008, translated by Veronica Maximova
- Битва за лес (RU), OLMA Press (hardcover), 2009, translated by Veronica Maximova
- 어둠의 시간 (KR), Kyobo (unknown binding) 5 February 2007, translated by Kim
- ファイヤハートの旅立ち (JA), Komine Shoten (unknown binding), 17 November 2007, translated by Yukako Takabayashi
- ファイヤハートの旅立ち (JA), Komine Shoten (unknown binding), 20 May 2009, translated by Yukako Takabayashi
- Une sombre prophétie (FR), Pocket Jeunesse (paperback), 6 March 2008, translated by Aude Carlier
- 黑暗時刻 (ZH), Morning Star (paperback), 31 December 2008, translated by Gao Mei
- 力挽狂澜 (ZH), China Children's Publishing (paperback), 1 March 2009, Zhou Ying
- Stunde der Finsternis (DE), Verlagsgruppe Beltz (hardcover), 2009, translated by Friederike Levin
- Stunde der Finsternis (DE), Verlagsgruppe Beltz (audiobook), 2010, translated by Friederike Levin, narrated by Marlen Diekhoff
- Pimeyden Hetki (FI), Art House (hardcover), 17 August 2011, translated by Vesa-Matti Paija
- Vuurproef (NL), Baeckens Books Nederland (hardcover), 1 November 2011, translated by Huberte Vriesendorp 
- Den mørkeste time (DK), Sohn (hardcover), 12 October 2012, translated by Jens Christiansen 
- Iskušenje tame (HR), Znanje (paperback), 2013, translated by Jana Merlin
- La hora más oscura (ES), Salamandra (paperback), 22 November 2013, translated by Begoña Hernández Sala
- L'ora più buia (IT), Sonda (hardcover), 29 January 2014, translated by Maria Milano
- Vuurproef (NL), Baeckens Books Nederland (paperback), 17 June 2014, translated by Huberte Vriesendorp 
- The Darkest Hour (EN), HarperCollins (paperback; reprint), 17 March 2015
- Pimeyden hetki (FI), Art House (paperpack), June 2014
- Stunde der Finsternis (DE), Verlagsgruppe Beltz (abridged audio-book), 21 February 2017, translated by Friederike Levin, narrated by Marlen Diekhoff
- Stunde der Finsternis (DE), Verlagsgruppe Beltz (paperback), 4 April 2017, translated by Friederike Levin
- Czarna godzina (PL), Nowa Baśń (paperback), 14 August 2017, translated by Katarzyna Krawczyk
- 力挽狂澜 (CN), China Children's Press (paperback), 1 September 2017, translated by Zhao Zhenzhong
- The Darkest Hour (EN), HarperCollins (audiobook), 10 October 2017
- 짙은 어둠의 시간 (KO), Garamchild (paperback), 10 July 2019, translated by Seo Nayeon
- 짙은 어둠의 시간 (KO), Garamchild (e-book), 10 June 2020, translated by Seo Nayeon
- Czarna godzina (PL), Nowa Baśń (audiobook), 6 August 2020, translated by Katarzyna Krawczyk, narrated by Maciej Kowalik
Notes and references
- Revealed on the dedication page of The Darkest Hour
- Revealed on the inside right flap of The Darkest Hour
- Revealed on the back cover of The Darkest Hour
- Revealed on the copyright page of The Darkest Hour
- Revealed on Audible.com
- Information from HarperCollins.com
- Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 149
- The image on the original cover depicts the omen Firestar receives of his reflection morphing into a lion.
- Revealed on Facebook messenger with the Erin Hunter marketing team.
- Information from ozon.ru
- Information from libro.co.kr
- Information from Komine Shoten
- Information from Komine Shoten
- Information from Pocket Jeunesse
- Information from Morning Star Press
- Information from Xinhua Books
- Information from Beltz
- Information from Beltz
- Information from bookplus.fi
- Information from kauppa.tietosanoma.fi
- Information from bol.com
- Information from kgz.hr
- Information from amazon.com
- Information from amazon.it
- Information from boekhandelpardoes.be
- Information from tietosanoma.fi
- Revealed on beltz.de
- Revealed on beltz.de
- Revealed on empik.com
- Revealed on amazon.cn
- Revealed on blog.naver.com
- Revealed on blog.naver.com
- Revealed on storytel.com
|The Darkest Hour chapters|
|Prologue • Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7 • Chapter 8 • Chapter 9 • Chapter 10 • Chapter 11 • Chapter 12 • Chapter 13 • Chapter 14 • Chapter 15 • Chapter 16 • Chapter 17 • Chapter 18 • Chapter 19 • Chapter 20 • Chapter 21 • Chapter 22 • Chapter 23 • Chapter 24 • Chapter 25 • Chapter 26 • Chapter 27 • Chapter 28 • Chapter 29 • Chapter 30|