Death Day (2001) is the first novel in a duology about the invasion of Earth by the alien Saurons. It is followed by Earthrise.
The Saurons destroy New York, Paris, Moscow, and other major cities in the first few minutes of the attack, killing over 3 billion people. With the destruction of Washington, and the Pentagon, political leadership devolves to the highest ranked remaining cabinet officer, Michael Olmsworthy, Secretary of the Air Force. He is in the TOC below McChord AFB and, when the aliens want to talk, he goes to meet them. Unfortunately, the Saurons are irritated by the insult, kill Olmsworthy, and chastise Alexander Ajani Franklin, governor of the state of Washington, for wasting perfectly good servants on a useless gesture. It seems the Saurons have castes, with the black-skinned Zin at the top, the brown-skinned Kan below them, and the white-skinned Fon at the bottom. Franklin is black and the others were not, hence the insult.
The Saurons have a made a list of suitable candidates for leadership of their human slaves, of which Franklin is the leading survivor. After Franklin accepts, hoping to ameliorate slave conditions, he finds that the Saurons are using his simulated image to promote their program. The novel spends the first third of the book introducing the main characters: a UN security man Jack Manning, his sister Marta Manning, ex-ranger George Farley and his buddy Deacon Smith, the white supremacist Jonathan Ivory, the historian Boyer Blue, doctor Seekko Sool, ranger Velo Kell, the StarCom worshipper Sister Andromeda, and USN PO3 Darby Stokes.
It also acquaints us with some of the Ra'Na, who have been slaves of the Saurons for two hundred years: Fra Pas Pol, Dro Tog, and P'ere Has. Fra Pol eavesdrops on the Zin and discovers that the Saurons are due to die on Earth. When he reports the conversation to Dro Tog, he is told that Tog will handle it. Nevertheless, Fra Pol autopsies a dead Fon and finds it is pregnant and the nymph is still alive. He spreads the word, even to the Fon, who are not aware of their impending demise.
Meanwhile, the Free Taggers, kids with spray cans, start using their graffiti to teach the Fon to read and the Fon also begin to uncover details of the Zin plot. At this point, the reader starts to understand the significance of the chapter headings, i.e., Death Day Minus 155, within the book. A new sense of urgency begins to develop.
This novel starts slow, but begins to build momentum in the middle. Franklin acquires a security detail, headed by Manning, Doctor Sool sets up a clinic, Sister Andromeda collaborates with the Saurons, Darby Stokes joins an attack of the Sauron shuttles, and the white supremacists attempt an assassination of Franklin. Thus ends the first volume in the series.
While this novel was probably influenced by Independence Day, it is more of a rebuttal than an imitation of that plot; odds are that the invasion will have accomplished its major objectives before anyone on Earth realizes the destruction is coming from space. What are the chances that Washington wouldn't be a prime target and thus zapped in the first few minutes. Bye-bye Pentagon, White House, etc.
This isn't Battlefield Earth either; in Hubbard's book, the hero overcomes his enemies single-handedly. Franklin definitely is not alone in his resistance to the Saurons; the humans, the Ra'Na, and even the Fon are required to repel the invaders. Stay tuned for the sequel.