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Death Day    by William C. Dietz order for
Death Day
by William C. Dietz
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Author Kevin Anderson recommends this series to fans of Independence Day or War of the Worlds, and Death Day is reminiscent of both. A hierarchically layered Sauron invasion force - with the cruel Zin masters at the top of the pecking order, followed by the Kan, the Fon, and Ra 'Na slaves - destroys most of Earth immediately and then begins to enslave the survivors and force them to build a set of huge temples, using low-tech means - similar to the back-breaking labor the slaves of the ancient Egyptians once performed.

Of course, there is opposition from a variety of resistance groups (human and alien). But, in a deviation from the Earth invasion norm of SF, humanity is not united, but rather fractured on racial lines (primarily white supremacists versus everyone else), including a new sect of alien worshippers. While the reader follows various subplots, much of the story's development centers on Jack Manning, who is first enslaved to mine on an orbital asteroid, and then seconded to organize security for the invaders' main collaborator, Washington State Governor Alexander Franklin. Always a power magnet, he claims that he accepts his new role reluctantly, in order to help alleviate humanity's suffering. His wife Jina keeps him honest.

As the different groups contend with each other, and countless humans suffer and die, a curious and greedy young Ra 'Na overhears a high level meeting that reveals an imminent vulnerability for the Sauron overlords. As this information spreads, shifting alliances form and a plan develops, to defeat the bugs. This first book ends after a violent confrontation, with the emergence of a human leader who plans to ensure that 'the people of Earth will rise again.'

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