Killers of the Dawn (Cirque Du Freak Series #9)

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Overview

Outnumbered, outsmarted, and desperate, the hunters are on the run, persued by the vampaneze, the police, and an angry mob. With their enemies clamoring for blood, the vampires prepare or a deadly battle. Is this the end for Darren and his allies?
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Overview

Outnumbered, outsmarted, and desperate, the hunters are on the run, persued by the vampaneze, the police, and an angry mob. With their enemies clamoring for blood, the vampires prepare or a deadly battle. Is this the end for Darren and his allies?
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This is book 9 in the best-selling "Cirque Du Freak" series, as Darren Shan and his fellow vampires continue their war against the evil race of vampires known as the vampaneze and their human allies, the vampets. For much of the story, Darren and his friends are being pursued by the police and their vampeneze enemies. This includes a daring escape from police headquarters and a fast-paced and suspenseful pursuit through the city. The pursuit leads to a violent underground confrontation between Darren and the vampires and an army of vampaneze and vampets, including their leader, the Lord of the Vampaneze. Darren and his friends believe that they will win the war if they can kill the Lord of the Vampaneze. Also at stake in the fight is the freedom of Debbie, Darren's girlfriend, who is being held captive by the vampaneze. This is an exciting, action-packed novel that older kids, particularly horror fans, should enjoy. However, be warned, there is a high level of violence—sometimes graphic—throughout the book. 2005, Little Brown and Company, Ages 14 to 18.
—Mark Love
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780007137817
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Australia
  • Publication date: 8/24/2004
  • Series: Cirque Du Freak Series , #9
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.96 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Darren Shan

Darren Shan is the New York Times bestselling author of Cirque Du Freak and The Demonata, whose novels have sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Darren lives in Ireland, where he writes and collects art, comics, and film.

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Read an Excerpt

Killers of the Dawn

Book 9 in the Saga of Darren Shan
By Darren Shan

Little Brown For Young Readers

Copyright © 2003 Darren Shan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-15626-4


Chapter One

We scurried through the tunnels, Mr. Crepsley leading the way, Vancha and I in the middle with our prisoners, Harkat bringing up the rear. We said as little as possible, and I cuffed Steve into silence whenever he started to speak - I wasn't in the mood to listen to his threats or insults.

I didn't have a watch, but I'd been ticking off the seconds inside my head. About ten minutes or so had passed by my reckoning. We'd moved out of the modern tunnels and were back in the warren of old, damp tunnels. There was still a long way to go - plenty of time for the vampaneze to run us down.

We came to a junction and Mr. Crepsley took the left turn. Vancha started to follow him, then stopped. "Larten," he called him back. When Mr. Crepsley returned, Vancha crouched low. He was almost invisible in the darkness of the tunnels. "We have to try and shake them off," he said. "If we make straight for the surface, they'll be upon us before we're halfway there."

"But we could lose ourselves if we detour," Mr. Crepsley said. "We do not know this area. We might run into a dead end."

"Aye," Vancha sighed, "but it's a chance we'll have to take. I'll act as a decoy and go back the way we came. The rest of you try andfind an alternative route out. I'll work my way back to you later, if the luck of the vampires is with me."

Mr. Crepsley thought about that a moment, then nodded quickly. "Luck, Sire," he said, but Vancha was already gone, disappearing into the gloom in an instant, moving with the almost perfect silence of the vampires.

We rested a moment, than took the right tunnel and pressed on, Harkat now in charge of the vampet Vancha had kidnapped. We moved quickly but carefully, trying not to leave any signs that we'd passed this way. At the end of the tunnel, we branched off, again to the right. As we entered a fresh stretch of tunnel, Steve coughed loudly. Mr. Crepsley was on him in a flash. "Do that again and you die!" he snapped, and I sensed the blade of his knife pressing against Steve's throat.

"It was a real cough - not a signal," Steve snarled in reply.

"It matters not!" Mr. Crepsley hissed. "The next time, I will kill you."

Steve was silent after that, as was the vampet. We marched steadily upward, instinctively navigating the tunnels, wading through water and waste. I felt terrible, tired and drawn, but I didn't slow down. It must be daylight above ground, or very close to it. Our only hope was to get clear of the tunnels before the vampaneze found us - the sunlight should prevent them from pursuing us any further.

A short while later, we heard the vampaneze and vampets. They were coming up the tunnels at great speed, not having to worry about stealth. Mr. Crepsley dropped back a bit, to check if they were following us, but they didn't seem to have found our trail - all of them appeared to have gone after Vancha.

We continued to climb, working our way closer to the surface. Our pursuers kept passing in and out of earshot. By the sounds they made, they'd realized we weren't following the shortest route back, and had stopped and fanned out in search of us. I guessed that we were at least half an hour from ground level. If they located us anytime soon, we were certainly doomed. The tunnels were as tight as they were dark - a lone, well-placed vampet would have no difficulty mowing us down with a rifle or arrow-gun.

We were picking our way over a heap of rubble in a crumbling tunnel when we were eventually spotted. A vampet with a torch entered the tunnel at the far end, picked us out with a strong beam of light, and roared triumphantly. "I've found them! They're here! They -"

He got no further. A figure stepped out of the shadows behind him, grabbed his head and twisted sharply, left then right. The vampet dropped to the ground. His assailant paused just long enough to turn off the torch, then hurried over. I knew without having to see him that it was Vancha.

"Good timing," Harkat muttered as the scraggly Prince joined us.

"I've been shadowing you for a while," Vancha said. "He's not the first one I've picked off. He just got a bit closer to you than the others."

"Any idea how far we are from the surface?" I asked.

"No," Vancha said. "I was ahead of you earlier, but I've been bringing up the rear for the last quarter of an hour, covering you and laying a few false trails."

"What about the vampaneze?" Mr. Crepsley said. "Are they close?"

"Aye," came Vancha's reply, and then he slipped away again, to provide more cover.

Slightly further ahead, we found ourselves in familiar tunnels. We'd explored a vast slice of the city's infrastructure when hunting for the vampaneze, and had been in this section three or four times. We were no more than six or seven minutes from safety. Mr. Crepsley whistled loudly, signaling to Vancha. The Prince swiftly joined us and we pushed on vigorously, finding a new lease on life.

"There they go!"

The shout came from a tunnel to our left. We didn't stop to check how many were nearby - putting our heads down, we pushed Steve and the vampet in front and ran.

The vampaneze weren't long surging after us. Vancha dropped back and kept them at bay with his shurikens - sharp, multi-edged throwing stars that were lethal when thrown by one as experienced as Vancha March. By the hysterical voices, I knew most - if not all - of the vampaneze and vampets had now converged behind us, but the tunnel we were in ran straight ahead, with hardly any side-tunnels opening out of it. Our enemies weren't able to sneak around and attack us from the side or in front - they were forced to follow behind.

As we got closer to street level, the tunnels grew brighter, and my half-vampire eyes quickly adjusted to the dim light. I was now able to see the vampaneze and vampets trailing behind - and they were able to see us! The vampaneze, like vampires, had sworn not to use any missile-firing weapons such as guns or bows, but the vampets weren't limited by that oath. They began firing as soon as they had a clear line of sight, and we had to run doubled-over. If we'd had to cover a long distance in that uncomfortable crouch, they'd have surely picked us off one by one, but within a minute of them opening fire, we arrived at a steel ladder leading up to a manhole.

"Go!" Vancha barked, unleashing a hail of shurikens at the vampets.

Mr. Crepsley grabbed me and shoved me up the ladder. I didn't protest at being first. It made the most sense-if the vampaneze pressed forward, Mr. Crepsley was better equipped to fight them off.

At the top of the ladder I braced myself, then heaved against the manhole cover with my shoulders. It flew off, clearing the way up. I hauled myself out and quickly checked my surroundings. I was in the middle of a small street; it was early in the morning and nobody was about. Leaning back over the manhole, I yelled, "It's clear!"

Seconds later, Steve Leopard crawled out of the manhole, grimacing in the sunlight (almost blinding after being down the tunnels so long). Then Harkat came, followed by the vampet. There was a short delay after that. The tunnel underneath echoed with angry gun retorts. Fearing the worst, I was about to climb back down the ladder to check on Mr. Crepsley and Vancha when the orange-haired vampire burst out of the manhole, gasping wildly. Almost immediately, Vancha shot out after him. The pair must have jumped, one directly after the other.

As soon as Vancha was clear of the manhole, I stumbled across the street, picked up the cover, shuffled back with it and set it in place. Then all four of us gathered around it, Vancha grasping several shurikens, Mr. Crepsley his knives, Harket his axe, and me my sword. We waited ten seconds. Twenty. Half a minute. A minute passed. Mr. Crepsley and Vancha were sweating stingingly beneath the wan glare of the morning sun.

Nobody came.

Vancha cocked an eyebrow at Mr. Crepsley. "Think they've given up?"

"For a moment." Mr. Crepsley nodded, backing off warily, switching his attention to Steve and the vampet, making sure they didn't make a break for freedom.

"We should get out of ... this city," Harkat said, wiping a layer of dried blood from around his stitchedtogether grey face. Like Mr. Crepsley and Vancha, he was nicked in many places after his battle with the vampaneze, but the cuts weren't serious. "It would be suicide to remain."

"Run, rabbits, run," Steve murmured, and I cuffed him around the ears again, shutting him up.

"I'm not leaving Debbie," I said. "R.V.'s a crazed killer. I'm not going to abandon her to him."

"What did you do to that maniac to madden him so much?" Vancha asked, peeking down one of the small holes in the manhole cover, still not entirely convinced that we were in the clear. The purple animal hides he dressed in were hanging from his frame in shreds, and his dyed green hair was flecked with blood.

"Nothing," I sighed. "There was an accident at the Cirque Du Freak. He -"

"We have no time for recollections," Mr. Crepsley interrupted, tearing off the left sleeve of his red shirt, which had been slashed in as many places as Vancha's hides. He squinted up at the sun. "In our state, we cannot bear to stay in the sun very long. Whatever our choice, we must choose soon."

"Darren's right," Vancha said. "We can't leave. Not because of Debbie - much as I like her, I wouldn't sacrifice myself for her - but the Lord of the Vampaneze. We know he's down there. We have to go after him."

"But he's too well protected," Harkat protested. "Those tunnels are full of vampaneze ... and vampets. We'd perish for certain if we went ... down again. I say we flee and come back ... later, with help."

"You've forgotten Mr. Tiny's warning," Vancha said. "We can't ask other vampires for help. I don't care how poor the odds are - we must try to breach their defenses and kill their Lord."

"I agree," Mr. Crepsley said. "But now is not the time. We are wounded and exhausted. We should rest and form a plan of action. The question is, where do we retire to - the apartments we have been using, or elsewhere?"

"Elsewhere," Harkat said instantly. "The vampaneze know where ... we've been living. If we stay, we'd be crazy to go where ... they can attack anytime they like."

"I don't know," I muttered. "It was weird, the way they let us leave. I know Gannen said it was to spare the lives of his companions, but if they'd killed us, they were guaranteed victory in the War of the Scars. I think there's more to it than he was letting on. Having spared us when they had us trapped on their own turf, I doubt they'll come all the way up here to fight on our territory."

My companions mused on that in silence.

"I think we should return to our base and try to make sense of this," I said. "Even if we can't, we can get some rest and tend to our wounds. Then, come night, we'll attack."

"Sounds good to me," Vancha said.

"As good a plan as any," Mr. Crepsley sighed.

"Harkat?" I asked the Little Person.

His round green eyes were full of doubt, but he grimaced and nodded. "I think we're fools to stay, but if ... we're going to, I guess at least we have weapons and ... provisions there."

"Besides," Vancha added grimly, "most of the apartments are empty. It's quiet." He ran a menacing finger along the neck of his captured vampet, a shavenheaded man with the dark "V" of the vampets tattooed above either ear. "There are some questions I want answered, but the asking won't be pleasant. It'll be for the best if there's nobody around to hear."

The vampet sneered at Vancha as though unimpressed, but I could see fear in his blood-rimmed eyes. Vampaneze had the strength to withstand horrible torture, but vampets were human. A vampire could do terrible things to a human.

Mr. Crepsley and Vancha wrapped their robes and hides around their heads and shoulders, to protect them from the worst of the sun. Then, pushing Steve and the vampet ahead of us, we climbed to roof level, got our bearings, and wearily headed for base.

(Continues...)


Excerpted from Killers of the Dawn by Darren Shan Copyright ©2003 by Darren Shan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 177 )
Rating Distribution

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(138)

4 Star

(20)

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(11)

2 Star

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(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 178 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    AMAZING!!!

    Out of all the other books in the series i cried. I cried even more than when Sam Grest died.



    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Absorbing book that will leave you breathless...

    This book totally kept me engrossed in Darren Shan's adventure through the unknown. This is a true page turner and will leave you wanting for more. Don't pick up the book, look at the cover and put it back down, yes i know the covers are immature, but this book is NOT immature. Trust me, i am a young teenager, and i thought that this was going to be immature, but it wasnt. I surprised by how funny this was, sarcasm is the worlds best invention.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    Awesome book

    Very good book but very sad at the end. Darren shan dose it again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Awsome but shocking

    Its amazing booking but at the end *SPOILER ALERT* when mr crepsley died i cried my eyes out and threw the book across the room. He was my favorite character next to Darren and I really hate Steve because its his fault Mr. Crepsley dies. Its easy to believe Steve is the Lord of the Vampenze too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    AWSOME

    Best book i ever read!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2006

    A terrific book!

    I am writing a horror book myself, and this series was my inspiration. Out of them all, this book was my favorite. It was just perfect for my wanting. :) I LOVE THIS SERIES!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2014

    My nook wouldnt let me finis wat i was about to write. This is an add on to number two

    If you are tender hearted, you will mostlikely cry.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    Why

    Nnnnnnnoooooooooo!!!!!!!!!! Not mr .crespel why!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 1, 2014

    Good

    Wasn't sure what I was expecting from this. But it was interesting. Manga form of the series really.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2013

    Wow just wow. That ending, just what? Why? I like that the serie

    Wow just wow. That ending, just what? Why? I like that the series isn't afraid of at least trying something new and etc. Cool covers though.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

    AWESP

    Sooooooo awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!^_^_^_^_^_^_^_^

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Must Read!!!!!!!!!

    Good!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Book

    It good i like it it preety good i like

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Pivotal

    One of the most pivotal books in the entire series! The Lord of the Vampaneze is finally revealed. Let me just say that I cried really hard after reading this one! You have been warned!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    Awesome with a sad twist

    I love this series. It's my favorite. This book was amazing, but left me crying in the end. For anyone who knows me, that's huge. I never react to a book with my expressions. I will never laugh, smile, and never before had I cried. It was amazing, I just hope that something happens that will kind of resolve the twist. I'm definitelygoing to read the saga of Larten Crepsley after this. And Demonada ( not sure how they spell it, but it's by Darren Shan also. I'm pretty sure that it' different characters.). So I highly reccomend this book, but just remember that there is a sad ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    Shocking!

    This was the best book in the series by far. I definitely was not expecting the twist at the end, which had my mouth hanging in shock! You will not be disappointed by this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2012

    Days Read

    I read this book in 2 days and could not put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    NO WAY!!!!

    That lying measly mut, i love it steave is EVIL!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    Bobbbyyyyyyyyjoooooooooeeee ffffffffffffooooooorrrrrrreeeeevvvvveeeerrrr

    Awesome
    Way cooler then my little pony
    Eggselent! (HEEHEE)
    Super
    OMG
    Monstrous
    Everybody loves it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

    Stupid dumb weird this book sucks

    This book is great

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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