The Radiant Dawn is a novel published in 2016 and written by one J. Eifie Nichols.
In it, a pair of demon worshippers namen Aaron and Stacie Murphy are trying to bring about a Zombie Apocalypse in order to summon their demon lord onto Earth. In order to achieve that goal, they need to eradicate all sentient humans from the planet.
Among the roving undead and flesh golems created by dark magic, Dawn Cahill and other surviving humans' odds look bleak until she discovers an ancient statue in her fortress courtyard that holds the power of the Solari, stored there by the priestesses of Apollo thousands of years ago.
Tropes covered in this book include:
- Aliens Speaking English: Justified. The Wutner craft orbiting Earth has been doing so since at least the beginning of the zombie war. The aliens aboard have been listening to us with advanced devices, and as such have decoded our language and developed programming for their universal translators.
- Battle Couple: Dawn and Julius. Played oddly because Julius is fully willing to not contest Dawn charging into battle against clearly defined enemies and assumes she can handle herself, but worries greatly about her being stabbed in the back by someone she doesn't think is an enemy.
- Big Damn Heroes: The titular character pulls this off twice.
- One incident is when the Marines have run out of ammo and the helicopters have backed off. Everyone's retreated back into the tunnel. The transport helicopter is here, but the landing zone is overrun by undead. Dawn unleashes all the magic she's absorbed from the undead over the course of the battle and blasts the entire enemy army all at once.
- The Swiss defenders are watching the undead army mobilizing, three million strong. Then a laser starts sweeping across the undead and killing half of their force in under two minutes.
- Drop Pod: The Wutner drop pods. The ships themselves are only designed to go one way, though the orbital craft has a tractor beam that can lift them back off the planet's surface.
- Drop Ship: The Wutner drop pods, though they are sort of a cross between this trope and Drop Pod. What makes these similar to drop ships and less similar to drop pods is the tractor beam on the ship that can lift them off the planet.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The main protagonist. Dawn, the titular character, is "radiant", as in, she wields light powers.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: The Wutner spacecraft Amath'navar travels faster than the speed of light, having come from many light-years away to reach Earth. Word of God indicates that it uses a warp drive to do so.
- Feminist Fantasy: Dawn, the main protagonist, is a One-Woman Army and is not shown to have physical weaknesses, at least once she ascends. Her male partner takes a supporting role as a forklift operator who also functions as a warrior. Nadia and Laina also take major roles as the helicopter pilot and mythology expert respectively. On the side of the antagonists, Stacie is shown to be the more mature of the pair and is more intelligent than Aaron, who is boyish and impulsive.
- Fling a Light into the Future: High Priestess Amynta did this when Athens was under siege by the Romans. Knowing that the Solari would not be able to break the siege, and that her and her sisters would all perish in the battle, the Solari statue was imbued with Apollo's power. The titular hero opens it and claims the power for herself, becoming the first Solari High Priestess in two thousand years... right in the middle of the zombie apocalypse.
- Forged by the Gods: Though not technically forged by gods, Dawn's Solari Aegis was forged by priestesses of Apollo and contains the same magic wielded by them in battle.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: Played straight with both Dawn's angelic wings and Tyadrig's demonic wings.
- Hive Queen: Aaron controls the undead with a telepathic link. He does have limited extent and requires waypoints in the form of specialized undead — he telepathically links to the commanders, who link to the cavaliers, who link to the mindless and flesh golems. However, when the link is broken, the mindless don't become any less dangerous. They just shamble towards the nearest living humans, seeking sustenance.
- Humanoid Aliens: The Wutner, a species of blue-tinted stocky humanoid aliens with hooked claws.
- Keystone Army: Averted. It isn't Aaron's death that stops the undead, but Stacie's surrender. Knowing that she can't summon Tyadrig without Aaron, she decides to let the heroes have an actual victory instead of a pyrrhic one and siphons the magic from all the undead.
- The Leader: Dawn takes on this function mostly by being the heir to the Solari power.
- Our Angels Are Different: Dawn, though closer to a paladin wielding a divine artifact, is visually similar to an angel. She meets many of the qualifications: winged humanoid, flies, wields light powers and a sword that consumes magic on hit, and she's referred to as one by Aaron and Stacie multiple times.
- Our Zombies Are Different: There are several types of undead. "Mindless" are the basic undead unit that shamble forward and attack on sight. "Cavaliers" are undead that use zombie beasts as mounts and serve as an extension of the psychic command that generals have over the mindless. "Generals", along with antagonists Aaron and Stacie, are intelligent liches that exert psychic control over other undead. "Necromancers" are a specific type of general that can raise corpses as mindless and can open portals between places in the world.
- The creation process for mindless is different than the one for generals. Generals are created in a ritual that is detailed for Aaron and Stacie's conversion. Mindless are raised by necromancers with demonic magic.
- Undead are magically powered and do not need to consume human flesh. They are effectively controllable troops that do not feel fear, cold, or pain and do not need food or sleep.
- Religion of Evil: The cult of Tyadrig, an evil demon lord whose goal is to slay Jehovah, the Christian God. The cult seeks to summon Tyadrig to Earth, but to do this, they have to annihilate all non-cult humans because hostile sentience on the planet interferes with the summoning ritual.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Tyadrig. Tyadrig was a demon lord sealed by Jehovah to prevent him from existing on the material plane. Along come his worshipers in modern times Aaron and Stacie to release him. It becomes the task of the heroes to stop him from being released.
- Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: The SUN laser. In reality, it's just a mirror chamber to channel an omnidirectional light blast into one that was only pointed in one direction. It goes horribly wrong when Dawn uses it, but for a different reason than expected — Dawn locks herself in a chamber that gets superheated while she expended all of her magic to do as much damage as possible.
- Unholy Matrimony: Aaron and Stacie. This is stated outright that they are married to each other, yet they serve as the Big Bad throughout the book.
- Went Horribly Wrong: The SUN laser. When she uss it, it locks Dawn in a chamber that gets superheated while she expended all of her magic to do as much damage as possible.
- Zombie Apocalypse: The entire premise of the book is an ongoing zombie apocalypse brought about by demon worshipers who seek to summon their demon lord but are prevented by the sentience of humanity interfering with the summoning ritual.