The Darkest Path

The Darkest Path

by Jeff Hirsch

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USA TODAY bestselling author Jeff Hirsch once again creates a futuristic world with stunning, dramatic realism. A civil war rages between the Glorious Path--a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier--and what's left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path's dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path's deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal's loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545512251
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 09/24/2013
Sold by: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 299,121
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

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

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The Darkest Path 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The most suspenseful book I have ever read                            Hey Kid you okay you look a little scraped up they found you two on the side of the road. That voice is a voice nobody ever wants to hear thats a voice of a cold blooded killer who pretends to save you but from here on out he is your boss and is about to make you wear dirty novice clothes and scoop dog crap off the ground for the rest of your life but you Callum Roe will not settle with that and will escape to fed territory where you feel safe but as far as you know Nathan Hill will not let that happen because you are in the most highly secure military base in the world you have one option deal with it there is no such thing as escape. This novel is filled with suspense and will leave you on the edge of your seat and wanting to read more and more. BenJCHMS14
JackieBCentralTexasJB More than 1 year ago
Read on September 22, 2013 Book Info  Paperback Expected publication: October 1st 2013 by Scholastic Press (first published September 24th 2013) ISBN 0545512247 (ISBN13: 9780545512244) Source:Goodreads First Reads ARC Book Buy Links  AMAZON  B&N  BOOK SYNOPSIS USA TODAY bestselling author Jeff Hirsch once again creates a futuristic world with stunning, dramatic realism.  A civil war rages between the Glorious Path--a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier--and what's left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path's dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path's deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal's loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on. My Thoughts A couple of things stick out in my mind about this book immediately, the first is that if we ever do have another war on US soil that divides America than we face a horror that I hope to never live to see and the second thing that cemented the story's appeal was the inclusion of Bear as I am an animal lover who finds great joy in reading about the bond between man and his best friend with all the conflicting emotions created by the pitfalls faced in this type of apocalyptic world. As we follow the choices Cal makes the tension builds unbearably as he faces obstacle after obstacle in his quest to escape both the Path soldiers as well as the members of the US Federal Army so that he can make his way home to Ithaca New York.  Having committed a murder that brands him as a traitor to the followers of Nathan Hill's religious militia Callum Roe had no choice but to go on the run, the little mixed breed stray that was a secondary catalyst for his actions at his side for a good part of his journeys. It broke my heart when Cal discovered that he could not convince James to abandon his loyalties to "The Glorious Path" having to leave him instead and strike out alone with just Bear for companionship. The journey that the author describes is both one of the mind as well as the body for Cal, he learns that there are still compassionate people amidst the population that is sprinkled with those that have quickly learned the way best to survive is to look out for themselves no matter what the cost to others and he also learns that the 6 years he has spent with his captors has not stolen his own ability to feel compassion for others either. The hardships are many, just struggling to make their way on foot is difficult in and of itself but having to find water and sustenance to stay alive would have defeated Cal completely if not for Bear's keen nose for finding even the most meager of water sources. This book has a fierce beauty underlying a brutal reality that we may very well be facing in some unknown time in the future, the beauty is the unbreakable nobility of man's spirit when faced with his worst imagined nightmares and the brutal reality is the fact that no matter how much we pray for peace between us and our fellow man there will always be conflicting opinions on the same subject that lead to discord at some point.  This is a story that is filled with contradictions, a story of choices made, sides chosen, the bond of blood and ties that go beyond that of family and most of all it is a look at what may seem to be simply another futuristic tale of doom and gloom but if our world keeps on the way it is the make believe future may become a reality sooner than later. [ Goodreads First Reads ARC won in exchange for honest review]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Title The Darkest path this has been the best book I’ve read in a long time through each page all you see is the main character cal going through hell and back again. After all of his day of work he begins to sit down and be calm but then his home that he is in is bombed and almost everyone dies just for him to end back up in the paths prison camps and when he finally escapes he leads the resistance to victory. MatthewGCHMS14
Paperback_Princess More than 1 year ago
Having really, really, not enjoyed Magisterium, I went into this book with a ton of trepidation. That being said, I actually enjoyed this book. I felt that this book as a lot easier to relate to because the world was a lot closer to the type of world we live in. There were times where it was confusing because we never really got an explanation as to how we got to this point. I wished that we had learned how we got to the point in our history where a Jim Jones type took over part of the country. I think that was the missing element, the background to what made the world so awful that would happen. I had the same issue with Magisterium, so I was bummed that it is a reoccurrence. I did enjoy this story much better, I felt that it was more together and that Callum had a more clear path having left "The Path." Heh. I was a little bummed that most character in the book were only temporary, sort of the people that someone encounters while on a hero's journey. I felt that they were all there just to illustrate the different people and experiences that different groups went through. We got to see what it was like for people that were rich and towns that were on the border and how people lived in the camps. It was all a big exercise in looking at things from different points of view. I think that this is a great book for kids starting in middle grade. It shows the lengths that people will go through for family and how our world is not one to be taken advantage of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was immediately engaged in this book, since I've picked up this book I have had difficulty putting it back down. Every turn of the page is more action and adventure filled. The story follows the decisions and choices made by the main character, Cal. This book is my favorite so far, it ahs action, adventure, and at times its very emotional.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was asorbed by ths book. The dog in the booked added to the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a really good book about a war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This a must read. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received this as a advance from Netgalley and started it right after approved.  I just finished it today.  I have a mixed reaction to it.  I love the author and the other titles he has written. This one left me uncomfortable and I think it was supposed to.  The religious tones to the plot left me feeling uncomfortable. The struggle with the main character and his path was daunting as well. The fairytale and romance lover in me wanted a happily ever after and I knew I wasn’t going to get one.  The family struggle hit me the hardest. The idea that family works together made it hard for me to understand the choices made by the characters. I think the best thing about it was it made me think. Too few do that for me right now. I read to escape but this one pulled me emotionally through the book. I would absolutely suggest it ! 
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
I haven’t read much dystopia lately that was a hundred percent paranormal/supernatural free. The Darkest Path by author Jeff Hirsch is a highly realistic dystopic read and creepily enough could totally happen in the USA from the way the backgrounds were written in the novel. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Jeff Hirsch and his novels so I was excited to get reading The Darkest Path. What I do know is that it was one of the most original dystopias I ever read with a lot of dynamic characters. The Darkest Path takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where the United States has been divided between two groups that are stuck in the middle of a Civil War. The first group being what remains of the US government, the second being the Glorious Path, a militia that follows the teachings of an ex-US soldier and follows their own religion. However the Path are far worse than its members know and they always offer the Choice—which means accept or die. Main character Callum Roe and his younger brother James both know what the Path is like firsthand having been captured and converted to the Path’s teachings. While James seems to have been successfully indoctrinated into the Path, Callum is an entirely different story. Ever since their capture Cal has been forced to work in the kennels for the Path and is one of their best agents. After meeting and befriending a dog named Bear, Cal ends up killing his commander and finds himself on the run from the Path, discovering what the world beyond the Path is like and how his actions will affect the future of the country forever. I really liked the relationship between Bear and Cal. Despite it being between a boy and a dog I really liked that the novel kind of played up the whole ‘Man’s Best Friend’ aspect between Cal and his dog. I don’t think I’ve read any novels that made an animal an actual character, which was especially interesting since Bear didn’t exactly have any dialogue or any way to express his thoughts/emotions. However I still got emotionally attached to Bear and constantly hoped throughout the story that everything would work out for him. The Darkest Path does have a lot of action going on inside of it and Cal does get in a lot of violent encounters that are always pretty badass—however from the description I did have a high expectation of the novel moving at a fast pace and I must admit that I found it lacking in that department. After each of the many action scenes where Cal would be going up against the Path or the US government or people in general there would be a lot of boring low points where new characters would be introduced and some of these characters would have no development and seem very two dimensional. I appreciate the background behind the Path and the destruction of the USA that took place in The Darkest Path because it made a lot of sense and realistically what happens in the novel could totally happen in real life. And that is kind of terrifying like come on  really interesting and awesome. Readers who have read dystopia but didn’t like some of the unrealistic aspects are going to really enjoy The Darkest Path for its realism. Totally amazing. I would recommend The Darkest Path to readers who are looking for a refreshing, original dystopic read, readers who are interested in reading from author Jeff Hirsch who has written plenty of other dystopias. Readers who want a read that has a deep relationship between two characters and suspenseful action sequences are going to devour The Darkest Path.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
:):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):) :D PLEEEAAASSSEEE!!!!!
StephWard More than 1 year ago
'The Darkest Path' is a young adult dystopian novel that follows main character Callum "Cal" Roe as he goes about his life at a camp for the Glorious Path - a militia type religious group that dedicates themselves to the teachings of Nathan Hill, a former US soldier. The Glorious Path and what is left of the US government have been at war for years, trying to gain control of the country. Cal and his younger brother, James, were captured and taken in by the Glorious Path six years ago. After Cal murders his superior, he decides to attempt to escape the clutches of the Glorious Path and try to find his way home to Ithaca, NY. Along with Bear, the dog that he rescued, Cal must find his way across the country without being caught by the Path. Little does he know that his actions have set in motion a series of events that will have Cal relying on instinct and his loyalties - and ending in a battle that will effect the entire nation. This was a gripping and intriguing dystopian novel that had me hooked from the first pages. The story line is definitely a dystopian one, but it doesn't seem that far fetched. That was one of the scarier parts for me - that this could actually happen in our country some day. The story line kind of reminded me of the TV show "Revolution" with the militia fighting what's left of the government to control the land. Cal was a great main character for the book. He was brave, strong, smart, dedicated, and loyal - even when it cost him dearly. I loved the addition of Bear into the story as well - his doggie character made things seem a little bit easier to handle and helped to keep Cal safe and sane as he made his way across the country. I was totally rooting for both of them the entire time - right from when they met and Cal rescued him. The writing was captivating and had such vivid imagery and detailed descriptions of everything that I felt I was right alongside Cal throughout the story. Overall, this was a creepy and very realistic dystopian novel that will have fans of the genre begging for more. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This author has written amazing books and this doesn't fall short from amazing.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Be prepared to get up close and personal with what life can be like for the masses during a modern day civil war. The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch follows young Cal as he struggles to make sense of the war around him, while trying to get both himself and his brother across enemy lines and hundreds of miles to return to the family they have not seen in six years. Under a charismatic leader, an army of religious fanatics have risen up against a less-than-perfect American government and one by one states are falling to one side or the other. Corruption runs rampant, neither side is what they seem, and brutality and death are everywhere. Fifteen year old Cal sees things beyond anything his worst nightmare can conjure as a captive follower of the Path. The last straw comes when he saves a stray dog who steals his heart and becomes a symbol of normalcy for Cal in a world where he has been used, abused and seen as less than human. His desire to “go home” with his younger brother fuels him on as his journey crosses paths with both the good and evil in the world. Will there be anything left of Cal’s humanity? How much loss can he withstand? If he makes it “home” what will he discover? Will brother be pitted against brother? How does Cal decide which side is really The Darkest Path? Jeff Hirsch has built a brutal reality for his characters where there is no definitive line between good and evil, forcing his characters to choose what they consider to be the lesser of the two evils. He spares nothing in creating a sense of hopelessness and never eases up on the tension or the action in what is only a small piece of the turmoil taking place. Even the once strong are crumbling, yet through it all, as Cal’s character develops and grows, he finds moments of peace, loyalty and inner strength far beyond his years, risking himself for others. With crisp writing and attention to detail, Jeff Hirsch has created a fearsome reality that evokes total emotional involvement for the reader. I was simultaneously proud of Cal and shredded by some of his actions as he was forced to make hard and unselfish decisions to give up what he held most dear on his journey to discover what he needs most, to face reality, hold the past close and move on toward the future. I received a review copy from Scholastic Press in exchange for my honest review.