- Audiobook Review
- Author: Darren Wearmouth/Colin F Barnes
- Performed by Luke Daniels
- Released: June 2015 by Podium Publishing
- Category: Sci-Fi/Post Apocalyptic
A centuries old plan unfolds.
Pippa, Charlie, and the rest of humanity will have to fight for survival, sacrificing the life they’ve known to protect Earth from an ancient and previously dormant enemy. Even that might not be enough as this new enemy exacts a plan that will change the course of humankind forever.
Critical Dawn is an apocalyptic ride to the very edge of human existence. Factions will battle for control of the Earth—if they can avoid the threat of extinction.
Archaeologists and historians Charlie Jackson and his boss, Pippa Quinn, are investigating a site of particular interest and on the verge of a huge discovery, although it turns out to be not quite what they were expecting. Pippa has found some unexplainable and disturbing evidence in undisturbed graves at the dig site of a deserted settlement on Roanoke Island. Items were found under the skeletons which could not have been added after the burials and it was obvious to Charlie and Pippa they were dealing with advanced technology. As they try to draw some conclusions from the artefacts and information found at the dig, storms are gathering around the world. India has been hit with a tsunami and California by a hurricane.
An alternating storyline involves Generation Ship 5A, a space mission to colonise a new world and whose destination was a still hundred years away. Ben Murray, Ethan Reeves and Maria Flores are part of the crew and are now experiencing serious disruption to their vessel. They are in what they believe to be a desperate situation, as the ship appears to be in crisis.
On August 18, 1590, a privateering expedition on its way back to England from the Caribbean stopped off at Roanoke Island. John White, the governor of the colony and passionate advocate of the new world, took his men ashore. They found the settlement completely deserted. Infrastructure had been dismantled, no trace existed of the hundred-and-eight residents, and they couldn’t find any signs of struggle. The colonists were never found.
The only clue was the word ‘CROATOAN’ carved on a fort post and ‘CRO’ carved on a tree. Events surrounding the disappearance remain a mystery to this day.
The invasion is launched as sink holes begin to appear across the world and the aliens rise to the surface of the earth. The early double plot is good and grabbed my interest, but then suddenly, as the stories merge, the narrative is years ahead and I’m wondering what happened. I had to rewind to see if I’d missed something. From the inconclusive ending of one chapter to the beginning of the next there’s a very confusing and drastic leap in the storyline. It took a while to get back into the story and I almost gave up.
It would have been nice to find out more about Roanoke Island. I do like the way the true story has been adapted to fit into the story. I’d also like to know what actually happened to Pippa. There is nothing much about the actual invasion or Charlie’s story after the event. Even with science fiction/fantasy it has to be believable on some level and the concept of the aliens remaining undetected on earth for thousands of years stretches my imagination a little too far.
The basis of the main part of story is Charlie and his small group of survivors as they fight against the Croatoans’ plans to use humans and the planet for their own needs. The characters are well defined, both the resistance fighters and those who have collaborated with the aliens. Parts of the story are very good, the first and last thirds particularly, but the writing at times seemed to lack a connection, possibly because the book was written by two authors. I haven’t read either before so it’s difficult to tell.
However, I did enjoy the book once I got back into it again, due in no small part to Luke Daniels’ narration which, as always, is stellar. I would perhaps have followed on with the second audiobook but it doesn’t seem to be available, even though there is a sample at the end of Critical Dawn. Perhaps due for release at a later date.
About the authors
Darren Wearmouth spent six years in the army before pursuing a career in corporate technology. After fifteen years working for large telecommunications firm and a start-up, he decided to follow his passion for writing. His first novel was the best-selling FIRST ACTIVATION that he later sold to Amazon’s publishing imprint, 47North in a two-book deal.
Darren is represented by Paul Lucas of Janklow & Nesbit. Darren’s a member of the International Thriller Writers organisation and currently lives in Manchester, England.
Colin F. Barnes is a publisher and full-time writer of cyberpunk and thriller novels. He’s a member of both the British Fantasy Society and the British Science Fiction Association. He honed his craft with the London School of Journalism and the Open University (BA, English).
Colin has run a number of tech-based businesses, worked in rat-infested workshops, and scoured the back streets of London looking for characters and stories.