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The Darkest Hour

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"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

FrontOfficial Reprint

Author: Cherith Baldry[1]
Cover Artist: Wayne McLoughlin,[2] Owen Richardson[3]
Jacket Designer: Karin Paprocki[2]
Publish Date: 5 October 2004 [4]
Identification: ISBN 0060525851
Editions: Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book
More Info

Chapter-by-Chapter Notes
Book Cover Gallery

ThunderClan's darkest hour is upon them and Firestar, the warrior cat, must protect his Clan from a threat unlike any the Forest has every seen, as the time comes for prophecies to unfold and heroes to rise.
Preceded by: The Rise of Scourge
Followed by: Escape from the Forest

The Darkest Hour is the final book in The Prophecies Begin arc, formerly known as the Original Arc. Firestar is the cat featured on the reprinted cover.[5]


This book is for Vicky Holmes and Matt Haslum,
who helped find Fireheart's destiny.
Thank you.

The Blurb

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....

The Praise

"Action-packed. Certain to please any young reader who has ever wondered what dreams of grandeur may haunt the family cat."

-Publisher's Weekly[2]

"A suspenseful adventure story that urges readers onward."

-ALA Booklist[2]

Detailed Plot Summary

Tigerstar travels to make a deal with Scourge, leader of a group of alley cats from Twolegplace who call themselves BloodClan. Tigerstar offers Scourge 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 leader ceremony is interrupted 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 next to a pile of chewed up deathberries. She later recovers and reveals that Darkstripe fed the berries to her, telling her they were a treat, so she could 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 repects 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. Stonefur is about to defeat Darkstripe when Blackfoot jumps in and kills him. Stormpaw and Featherpaw are taken back into 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 wicked past. Hearing everything, Scourge decides that there will be no battle and he would think about what Firestar had said, so Tigerstar attacks him. Scourge counters his attack, and kills Tigerstar easily, wiping out all nine of his lives in one blow by slicing him open from throat to tail with his enormous claws that were replaced with dog teeth. Scourge gives all of the forest Clans three days to either leave or fight BloodClan for their home. 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.

Publication History

  • The Darkest Hour (EN), HarperCollins (hardcover), 5 October 2004[6]
  • The Darkest Hour (EN), HarperCollins (paperback), 4 October 2005[7]
  • Битва за лес (RU), OLMA Media Group (hardcover), 2008, translated by Veronica Maximova[8]
  • Битва за лес (RU), OLMA Press (hardcover), 2009, translated by Veronica Maximova[8]
  • 어둠의 시간 (KR), Kyobo (unknown binding) 5 February 2007, translated by Kim[9]
  • ファイヤハートの旅立ち (JA), Komine Shoten (unknown binding), 17 November 2007, translated by Yukako Takabayashi[10]
  • ファイヤハートの旅立ち (JA), Komine Shoten (unknown binding), 20 May 2009, translated by Yukako Takabayashi[11]
  • Une sombre prophétie (FR), Pocket Jeunesse (paperback), 6 March 2008, translated by Aude Carlier[12]
  • 黑暗時刻 (ZH), Morning Star (paperback), 31 December 2008, translated by Gao Mei[13]
  • 力挽狂澜 (ZH), China Children's Publishing (paperback), 1 March 2009, Zhou Ying[14]
  • Stunde der Finsternis (DE), Verlagsgruppe Beltz (hardcover), 2009, translated by Friederike Levin[15]
  • Stunde der Finsternis (DE), Verlagsgruppe Beltz (audiobook), 2010, translated by Friederike Levin, narrated by Marlen Diekhoff[16]
  • Pimeyden Hetki (FI), Art House (hardcover), 17 August 2011,[17] translated by Vesa-Matti Paija[18]
  • Vuurproef (NL),Baeckens Books Nederland (hardcover), 1 November 2011, translated by Huberte Vriesendorp [19]
  • Den mørkeste time (DK), Sohn (hardcover),12 October 2012, translated by Jens Christiansen [20]
  • La hora más oscura (ES), Salamandra (paperback), 22 November 2013, translated by Begoña Hernández Sala[21]
  • Vuurproef (NL),Baeckens Books Nederland (paperback), 17 June 2014, translated by Huberte Vriesendorp [22]
  • The Darkest Hour (EN), HarperCollins (paperback; reprint), 17 March 2015[23]
  • Stunde der Finsternis (DE), Verlagsgruppe Beltz (paperback), 4 April 2017[24]

See Also

References and Citations

  1. Revealed on Dedication Page
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Revealed on The Darkest Hour cover
  3. Revealed on The Warrior Cats Forums
  4. Information from
  5. Revealed on The Warrior Cats Forums
  6. Information from
  7. Information from
  8. 8.0 8.1 Information from
  9. Information from
  10. Information from Komine Shoten
  11. Information from Komine Shoten
  12. Information from Pocket Jeunesse
  13. Information from Morning Star Press
  14. Information from Xinhua Books
  15. Information from Beltz
  16. Information from Beltz
  17. Information from
  18. Information from
  19. [1]
  21. Information from
  22. [2]
  23. Revealed on
  24. Revealed on Beltz

Warriors books
The Prophecies Begin Arc Into the WildFire and IceForest of SecretsRising StormA Dangerous PathThe Darkest Hour
New Prophecy Arc MidnightMoonriseDawnStarlightTwilightSunset
Power of Three Arc The SightDark RiverOutcastEclipseLong ShadowsSunrise
Omen of the Stars Arc The Fourth ApprenticeFading EchoesNight WhispersSign of the MoonThe Forgotten WarriorThe Last Hope
Dawn of the Clans Arc The Sun TrailThunder RisingThe First BattleThe Blazing StarA Forest DividedPath of Stars
A Vision of Shadows Arc The Apprentice's QuestThunder and ShadowShattered SkyDarkest NightRiver of Fire
Super Edition Arc Firestar's QuestBluestar's ProphecySkyClan's DestinyCrookedstar's PromiseYellowfang's SecretTallstar's RevengeBramblestar's StormMoth Flight's VisionHawkwing's JourneyTigerheart's Shadow
Field Guide Arc Secrets of the ClansCats of the ClansCode of the ClansBattles of the ClansEnter the ClansThe Warriors GuideThe Ultimate Guide
The Lost Warrior Arc The Lost WarriorWarrior's RefugeWarrior's Return
Stand-alone Manga The Rise of Scourge
Tigerstar and Sasha Arc Into the WoodsEscape from the ForestReturn to the Clans
Ravenpaw's Path Arc Shattered PeaceA Clan in NeedThe Heart of a Warrior
SkyClan and the Stranger Arc The RescueBeyond the CodeAfter the Flood
Short Stories and Plays After Sunset: We Need to TalkAfter Sunset: The Right Choice?Beyond the Code: Brightspirit's MercyThe Elders' ConcernSpottedleaf's Honest AnswerThe Clans Decide
Novellas Hollyleaf's StoryMistystar's OmenCloudstar's JourneyThe Untold StoriesTigerclaw's FuryLeafpool's WishDovewing's SilenceTales from the ClansMapleshade's VengeanceGoosefeather's CurseRavenpaw's FarewellShadows of the ClansSpottedleaf's HeartPinestar's ChoiceThunderstar's EchoLegends of the Clans

The Darkest Hour chapters
PrologueChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12Chapter 13Chapter 14Chapter 15Chapter 16Chapter 17Chapter 18Chapter 19Chapter 20Chapter 21Chapter 22Chapter 23Chapter 24Chapter 25Chapter 26Chapter 27Chapter 28Chapter 29Chapter 30

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