THE BURNING DARK is the spookiest book I’ve read since SALEM’S LOT. The two stories are in no way related other than the fact that they both scared me and made me jump at shadows. Adam Christopher’s story weaves outer space, gigantic mechanical spiders, space warfare, and ghosts together in a page-turner that had me seeing shadows everywhere!
In the 30th Century, Ida (short for Idaho) Cleveland is a recently retired captain in the Fleet, a hero after saving millions of people in a horrific battle with Spiders who can crush planets. On board the U-Star Coast City stationary orbital platform to oversee its deconstruction, Ida is surprised to find that no one in the minimally staffed station has ever heard of him. As he tries to contact his former compatriots, whose records are also mysteriously empty, the communications die. He starts seeing shadows in the empty hallways. People start disappearing.
He has built a small radio in his room and way down on the dial, in the frequencies of subspace, he starts hearing a woman’s voice. Soon, the voice starts speaking directly to him.
In the station the air temperature fluctuates wildly but is blamed on the deconstruction in progress. Yet Ida notices it gets icy cold whenever he “sees” a shadow.
Her eyes glowed blue in the station’s night.
“Contact has been established,” she whispered. At her words the shadows roiled, peeling out of the corners of the corridor and sweeping around her in a slow orbit. Within moments she was the center of a storm of night. The shadows, alive, kissed her skin.
She reached out and pointed at DeJohn’s back. The marine’s eyes rolled up until only the whites were showing, and then he jolted like he’d been shocked, and then he turned around. The shadows coalesced around him too, and together the pair stood in the dark on Phi Deck, the world dimming around them until the only light was the light of her eyes, blue and terrible and aflame.
King is the ineffectual provost marshal on the Coast City. The missing Commandant Elbridge has left a message for him in a coded book. Does this book hold the answers to what is going on?
The famous Zia Hollywood is scheduled to stop at Coast City to refuel her mining ship. Zia, with her everpresent rectangular dark glasses, is hard to read. Is she visiting just to refuel, or does she have other motives? This much Ida knows; her sentient body markings spook him.
Despite a couple of scenes that don’t make much sense, the rest of the book is SO GOOD that I forgive Christopher easily.
Is Ida crazy? Who are the shadows? Who is the real Zia? From Tau Retore to forbidden forests in Japan, this is an unnerving ride!
Why do I love this book? BECAUSE IT TRULY SCARED ME! Why should you read it? Because you will love it!