The Darkest Path by Jeff HirschThe Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch

The Darkest Path

byJeff Hirsch

Hardcover | October 1, 2013

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USA Today bestselling author Jeff Hirsch once again creates a futuristic world with stunning, dramatic realism.

For the last several years, a civil war has raged between the Glorious Path - a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier - and what's left of the US government. The Glorious Path seeks complete control of the country, and those they capture are given the Choice: convert or be killed.

Fifteen-year-old Cal and his younger brother were captured and forced to convert five years ago. Cal gets along until he befriends a stray dog named Bear, and then kills a commander who wants to train Bear to be a brutal attack dog. Thissends Cal and Bear on the run and sets in motion a series of events that will test Cal's loyalties and beliefs, ending in a brutal battle that the fate of the entire country rests on.

JEFF HIRSCH graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with an MFA in dramatic writing, and is the USA Today bestselling author of The Eleventh Plague and Magisterium. He lives in Beacon, New York, with his wife. Visit him online at
Title:The Darkest PathFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 8.54 × 5.78 × 1.08 inPublished:October 1, 2013Publisher:SCHOLASTIC INCLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0545512239

ISBN - 13:9780545512237

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Dystopian Adventure! "The Darkest Path" is an imaginative, fast-paced dystopian novel that takes place after war, depression and starvation have devastated the U.S. The States are divided and a civil war rages between the Glorious Path, a militant religious group, and what remains of the Federal government. As the story opens fifteen year old Callum Roe who's been working not only as an army insurgent but also in the Path's dog kennels suddenly finds himself on the run after befriending a stray dog and killing the Kennel Master who attacked him. An adventure begins that will test Cal's loyalties as he struggles to return home to Ithaca, and culminates in events that will not only lead to a battle for dominance between the two great armies, but will determine the fate of a nation.  The plot is well-written and very realistic as events unfold and move quickly towards an exciting climax which begs for a sequel. The theme is directed at the path a person or a nation believes it must walk. Like the country which is divided and must find its way through conflict and destruction to solidify the nation, Cal Roe feels he must walk a path far from the religious ideology he's been indoctrinated into, facing death as he struggles to return to the security and serenity he equates to his home in Ithaca. In an environment that breeds fear, violence and death the story weaves in values like loyalty, friendship, and love. A romance emerges between Natalie (Nat) Whitacker and Cal which is not central to the tale, but adds to the drama, compassionate commitment and self-sacrifice so predominant in the makeup of Jeff Hirsch's characters. The core characters are well-developed, realistic and complex with traits born of the violence and destructive setting they live in. Callum (Cal) Roe is loyal, intense, inventive and brave, horrified when he's forced to kill. His younger brother James Roe, a dedicated follower of the Path is judgemental and compliant, rarely questioning his beliefs or actions. Natalie Whitacker haunted by the loss of those she loved, is an organized, resourceful leader whose defiance is coupled with a propensity to commit an extreme form of retaliation. In a story where there is no side that's good or bad; both the Federal and Path leadership are uncompromising in their policies and violent in their attempt to gain control of the nation. As leader of the Path Nathan Hill, a former veteran has a charismatic and mesmerizing personality which masks his radical ideology and his willingness to sacrifice soldiers and civilians to gain power. But his lack of mercy and insensitivity is also prevalent in the officers of his army; in the sarcasm and cruelty of Sergeant Rhames, in the brutality of Kennel Master Quarles and the deception and lies of Captain Munroe. All these characters and more add to the power and dimension of a fascinating plot. I thoroughly enjoyed this story which was captivating and explosive from the first page to the last, and highly recommend it
Date published: 2014-03-27

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Eleventh Plague

"The Eleventh Plague hits disturbingly close to home, vividly depicting a world that has nose-dived into a futuristic nightmare . . . An excellent, taut debut novel." -Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games

"A gripping survival drama." -USA Today

"Sure to be a hit among fans of dystopias." -Booklist

"An impressive story with strong characters." -Publishers Weekly