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The Burning Dark

(Spider Wars #1)

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  702 ratings  ·  142 reviews

Adam Christopher’s dazzling first novel, Empire State, was named the Best Book of 2012 by SciFi Now magazine. Now he explores new dimensions of time and space in The Burning Dark.

Back in the day, Captain Abraham Idaho Cleveland had led the Fleet into battle against an implacable machine intelligence capable of devouring entire worlds. But after saving a planet, and getting

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Tor Books (first published March 14th 2014)
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Average rating 3.28  · 
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mark monday
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi-modern
synopsis: creepy whispers and other frightening things occur during the dismantling of a space station that lies under the shadow of a dread dark star. 😨

what I thought would be a sleek and scary bit of horror in space, perhaps by way of Alien or - since I'm not one to get my hopes up too far - maybe Event Horizon... turned out to be not so horrific. rather a jumble and eventually a drag.

Adam Christopher is a proficient author who gives the impression that he had a great time writing this. and i
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2014
5 Stars

Burning Dark by Adam Christopher is a fantastic piece of science fiction horror. It would be more apt to call this a futuristic ghost story than anything else, but even that isn’t right on. Ghosts, space aliens, space aliens that look likes spiders, space aliens that look like spiders and come in planet eating sizes. An unexplainable toxic light star that is the center of this story.These are just a few of the things found in this real page turner.

Think about the movie Event Horizon, or m
David Sven
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, sci-fi
An enjoyable military scifi come psychological horror thriller.

Nearly a a thousand years in the future humanity has been colonising space, and is at war with the "Spiders" - a machine intelligence that likes to literally pull planets apart. As large as planets themselves, the "Mother" spiders grab on and sink their claws/fangs in until whatever planetary body it's holding onto falls apart all while spawning egg sacks of smaller spiders that grow as they consume resources.

But that's just the back
Richard Derus
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.75* of five

The Publisher Says: Back in the day, Captain Abraham Idaho Cleveland had led the Fleet into battle against an implacable machine intelligence capable of devouring entire worlds. But after saving a planet, and getting a bum robot knee in the process, he finds himself relegated to one of the most remote backwaters in Fleetspace to oversee the decommissioning of a semi-deserted space station well past its use-by date.

But all is not well aboard the U-Star Coast City. The station
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
In the shadowland of the dead, she sat and cried for her husband, but the prison was sealed and she could not leave and nobody could hear her.
The shadows surrounded her, swarming like living, breathing creatures. The shadows caressed her skin, holding the rotting flesh onto her bones. Things crawled over her and ate the flesh, but the shadows kept her firm, kept her whole as the things ate, and ate, and ate.
It was too late.
She had eaten the food of the underworld, and she could not return. So
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
I liked this story up until the end, and thus had to remove one star. The ending read like something out of a superhero comic book. Too over-the-top, and more fantasy than science fiction. Disappointing.
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on Avid Reviews:

Acclaimed author Adam Christopher brings us the start to a new series with The Burning Dark. Unlike his previous books, this novel is a Sci-Fi/ horror crossover. It is an interesting new addition to the Sci-Fi genre that takes the setting and overarching plot line of a space opera with the feeling of a ghost story. Christopher employs a writing style that utilizes internal monologue from several different poi
I'm a sucker for sci-fi horror. There I said it. I probably don't need to elaborate on that admission any further than to say the Aliens film franchise had a significant effect on me in my youth. Except perhaps to add that I think Event Horizon was a genuinely creepy film - despite it being from Paul W. S. Anderson.

So it was that I approached The Burning Dark with no small level of expectation.

When, oh when, will I learn ...

This is a mash-up of any number of sci-fi and horror works you've read o
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
So this wasn't at all what I expected. From the description I was expecting a military SF novel with a bit of a mystery element, but surprisingly this one was much more a horror story in a SF setting. Complete with jump scares and allusions to the supernatural.

I don't have a huge tolerance for horror and some of the horror tropes/elements went on a bit too long for my taste without moving the plot forward, but overall it's a satisfying story.

Describing it in a spoilery way (view spoiler)
Sachin Dev
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
The Burning Dark is my second book by Adam Christopher - Having earlier read his excellent debut, Empire State - his take on superheroes - I would like to say I've become familiar with his craft and imagery that he builds out.

With this book, however Adam makes a departure from his urban fantasy/pulp-noir books, steering towards a horror/sci-fi mash-up in the first of the Spider War Chronicles. Hell, a haunted house story on the outer fringes of space ? Absolutely original idea and I was all for
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Just finished 'The Burning Dark' by Adam Christopher and liked it quite a bit.
I see some are rating it poorly and can't disagree more. When reading a story I try to consider whether or not the author has written in this genre previously and if so, how much. If, like this, it is the authors first venture into this specific genre, I tend to go a little easier. Plus I read first for pure entertainment and second for general problems.

With that in mind I feel the story is great. It had me nervous at
Ryan Lawler
Feb 15, 2014 rated it liked it
After reading this book I'm left with one question - how did this book go so far off the rails? I mean I was loving this book, I was churning through the pages, I thought the first two thirds were among some of the best sci-fi I've read in past few years. It was a haunted house as a derelict space ship, with creepy ghosts making use of various radio frequencies. There were moments were things were really creepy.

And then, the author tried to explain it all away. Suspense was replaced with convolu
Online Eccentric Librarian
Jan 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, arc

More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog

The Burning Dark is an interesting mix of two genres: a haunted house type of thriller with sci fi trappings. It is also a very cinematic book, conjuring images when being read that could come directly from a movie. But the spooky premise and 'bump in the night' chills are offset by an anticlimactic reveal at the end and a distractingly disjointed beginning.

Plot: Captain Abraham Idaho Cleveland is a veteran of a nasty
Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Originally reviewed on Just A Guy That Likes To Read: http://justaguythatlikes2read.blogspo...

Aboard a space station in the midst of being decommissioned, ageing fleet veteran war hero Ida Cleveland is assigned, minus the decoration and glory that should come with having saved a planet. His past heroics dubbed lies by the skeleton staff marines counting down the hours to their eventual departure from the derelict Coast City. Faced with unwelcome hostility and a deep sense of isolation, he forms
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved it from start to finish with its homages to the tv soap opera Dark Shadows, Bloom County and DC Comics characters the Green Lantern, Hal Jordan and the Deadman, Boston Brand. Shares some common ground with the classic SF film "Event Horizon". A spiffy Gothic horror SF thriller! I hope we don't have to wait another year for the next book of the trilogy.

The story is heavily tinged with J-horror from the Funayurei (vengeful sea ghosts.) Except they're space ghosts here, and I don't mean the
Apr 29, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy, 2015
This is a disappointing military / horror SF hybrid that tries its best to rise above its Event Horizon style plot. Instead it succumbs to a welter of clichés that a savvy genre reader can see from a mile away. The ending seems a bit rushed and keeps much of the resolution under wraps for the inevitable sequel(s).

There is not much science in this science fiction novel. While Adam Christopher does throw in the concept of Olbers’ Paradox (the so-called Dark Night Sky Paradox), he rather unhelpfull
This is a classic ghost space. It's actually really impressive how well Christopher manages to meld the "vengeful ancient ghost from legends" (including all the standard horror tropes of deceased loved ones reappearing, whispering voices, disappearing minor characters, cold and sudden darkness, serious mind-fuckery, and so on) with a space opera derelict research station. You can't really decide how reliable a narrator the protagonist is until almost the end of the novel, which just i ...more
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Did you ever a movie called Event Horizon? (a steaming big pile of crap) Well it sucked, but the base idea was kinda cool. The Burning Dark is what would happen if you took a idea like that and made it rock. I have seen several not positive reviews, but I loved every page, it was superb. I enjoyed the characters, the world and the creep factor was up to like 14 or something. This would make a killer film, and I look forward the rest of the Spider War. Go read this.
May 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Humans don’t like the unknown: it works against every single instinct evolution has built into us. If we can’t explain something, we find a way to do so based on pre-existing constructs: that’s why every culture has its myths and legends, and why we have religion and science. Humans can’t help but ask questions, and we will find answers to those questions, somehow, some way. However, once we settle on a preferred construct, a preferred answer to a question, it’s very hard to change our minds whe ...more
Tyrus Shirley
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The overall order of this book could have been tweaked as some parts were rather confusing as it was read, but as you continue reading things begin to fall into place and by the end it all makes sense. The story as a whole is exciting and is definitely worth the read!
Mark Lindberg
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Captain Abraham Idaho Cleveland, called Ida, was a hero. While he was captain, he led a fleet into battle against the spiders, AIs than can eat planets, and even stars. And, against all odds, he won the battle. Now, left with an achy robotic knee as a memento of the battle, Ida has been sent to oversee the last stages of the disassembling of the U-Star Coast City, a Fleet space station. He doesn’t know why he’s been sent to the station, and neither do the remaining crew members, none of whom hav ...more
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014-read
Originally published at SFFWorld.

The Burning Dark (Spider Wars #1) by Adam Christopher is the first book in a new series from the author. Venturing into full-on sci-fi, The Burning Dark marks a departure from his previous –and well received – urban fantasy/superhero novels. While I have yet to read any of Christopher’s previous works, The Burning Dark does raise a very prominent question for me about the author: why the praise?

Sent out of the way to the Shadow star system and the U-Star Coast Ci
Brick Marlin
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yet another great read by Adam Christopher! Now onto another one of his fine novels...
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wow! What a pleasant surprise! From the blurb, I expected a military science fiction story with some kind of conspiracy thrown in... which I guess is what this is; but it's so much more. It's more a thriller set on a space-station, with a bit of conspiracy in the background.

I had just finished reading the latest Alien novel, and while those stories are supposed to be scary and space-horror, it didn't really have that suspense that makes a good thriller. The Burning Dark more than made up for tha
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
ARC provided by NetGalley

The Burning Dark is a brilliant SciFi, Horror mix, with scenes that makes your hair stand on end. I'm not an avid reader of the horror genre, but here I had a really fun time and it fit very well in the scifi context. I enjoy this kind rather than some supernatural horror in an urban setting.
The worldbuilding was very well done. The whole background to the world with enormous, planet killing spider machines was very intriguing and I was a little bumped we didn't get to l
Darren Vincent
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Great book.

I am giving this book 4 stars instead of 3 because after reading 'The Overnighter' (see previous review of that book), it was a breath of fresh air to see horror done right. There was so much more anticipation in this book than in 'The Overnighter'. The author let the environment and the character's insecurities spread the tension around. I didn't need to be told that thinks were creepy and ominous, they just were. The characters were well written there was solid tension between them.
Timothy Pecoraro
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Burning Dark is an incredibly impressive book that begins a space opera series set in a universe where giant machine spiders are attacking and eating planets. This is the backdrop for an incredibly well handled ghost story. I have to admit that I was a little skeptically going into this book just based on hearing about the premise alone. But after really only a few chapters, I was hooked. The pacing of the story was excellent, the characters were all well developed and interesting. The endi ...more
Oh boy, I really wanted to like this one. The premise sounded like this could be a really cool horror sci-fi book. Sadly, it wasn't, because I didn't really feel the horror. There were a few moments that were building up to something, but then just fell flat for me. Somehow the sci-fi setting felt unnecessary because the world building was really weak. I mean, there are these giant "spiders" that devour whole worlds and then the only thing the author does with them is (view spoiler) ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this novel 5 more stars. I could not put it down! May I suggest an alternative title of "The Creeping Dread"? I'm still getting goosebumps.

Set on a far-flung space station in the last stages of disassembly, this book quickly came to remind me of the movie "Event Horizon."

I don't want to give anything away, but I will say this is one of those rare books that I couldn't stop reading, but didn't want to finish because it was so good. Gripping, creepy, action-y...

I rarely get sp
Eleanor With Cats

Katana-wielding ghost queen of demons is fought by time-stranded female Soviet cosmonaut, the cyborg hero-captain abandoned by his own fleet who loves her, an ex-Black Ops space marine cut by the guilt of his family's deaths, a female Santería practitioner who is also the best psi-marine in the Fleet, and a glamorous reality media star. Did I get that right?

Oh yeah, and giant psychic alien robots who are eating our planets. Shaped like spiders.


Very, very atmospheric. (That means cre
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Adam Christopher’s debut novel EMPIRE STATE was SciFiNow’s Book of the Year and a Financial Times Book of the Year. The author of MADE TO KILL, STANDARD HOLLYWOOD DEPRAVITY, and KILLING IS MY BUSINESS, Adam’s other novels include SEVEN WONDERS, THE AGE ATOMIC, and THE BURNING DARK.

Adam has also written the official tie-in novels for the hit CBS television show ELEMENTARY, and the award-winning DI

Other books in the series

Spider Wars (3 books)
  • The Machine Awakes (Spider Wars, #2)
  • The Dead Stars (Spider Wars, #3)

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