DARREN SHAN – THE SAGA OF DARREN SHAN #11 LORD OF THE SHADOWS 2003 Harper-Collins.
The penultimate Darren Shan Vampire story. Back from discovering that the ruined monster infested world they visited was a possible future of our own planet, Darren & Harkat return to our dimension and rest with the Cirque Du Freak again. They have arrived just as the Circus is preparing to head for Darren’s hometown, where his adventures began eighteen years before. Darren, still looking like a sixteen year old, worries that he might be recognized by old family and friends. However, he feels destined to go there, rather than to Vampire Mountain, where some of his vampire and human allies are uniting to join him in battle against Steve Leonard (Leopard) and the Vampaneze. Darren learns that his own parents have long since moved out of town, saddened by his death (he faked it when he became a vampire). His sister still lives at home however, where she has a son, born out of wedlock, which she raises alone. Darren watches her, and mistakes a visiting child for her son. Darren decides not to talk to her directly as that could involve her in the vampire V Vampaneze war. Darren does meet one friend however, an old school-friend, who visits the circus. This friend is now a professional celebrity football goalkeeper. He is shocked to learn that Darren is a vampire, but he is willing to keep quiet about him. A young lad called Darius, who few except Darren trust, also visits the circus. When Darren goes to the football match to watch his friend in action, he is shocked when Vampaneze marauders kill the goalkeeper in front of the entire packed stadium. Darren gives chase to the attackers, who are led by Steve Leonard. With Darius clearly on Steve Leopard’s side, and watching, Steve shoots Darren with a bow and arrow, and Darren almost dies. He falls unconscious, but he is rescued by some homeless people who are serving as members of the underground vampire army founded at Vampire Mountain. Once recovered and having made plans, Darren ad his allies return to the circus, but they are attacked again. This time, Circus ringmaster Mr. Tall is killed just as he finally takes sides. A snake boy, one of the sons of Evra, a snake man friend of Darren’s is kidnapped. Darren, warned that he has the potential to become a monster just like Steve, counter-kidnaps Darius.
As the two prepare to exchange prisoners, Steve kills his hostage himself and challenges Darren to do likewise. Darren is on the brink of doing just that when Steve saves the boy by telling Darren a startling truth – the boy is Darren’s real nephew. Steve is the man who had an affair with Darren’s sister. Steve escapes, leaving Darren to come to terms with the fact that he has a Vampaneze child as a nephew. The story ends on this cliffhanger bombshell in preparation for a very explosive final book, Sons Of Destiny. www.darrenshan.com
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