Darren Shan's real name is Darren O'Shaughnessy. Although he is Irish, he was born on July 2, 1972, in St. Thomas' Hospital, London - directly across the river from the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Darren went to primary school in Askeaton, where his mother was a teacher, then to secondary school in Copsewood College in Pallaskenry. Later, he went back to London to study Sociology and English at Roehampton University.
Darren was 17 when he finished his first novel. Although it was never published, he relished the writing experience, and found himself focusing more on novels in the coming years, leaving behind the short-story format. For the next several years, sandwiched between university and work, he wrote an average of one book a year, experimenting with different ideas, genres, lengths and styles. When he started writing full-time, at the age of 23, his output shot up to 5 to 6 books per year.
All of these early books were adult-oriented. Although Darren quite liked the idea of writing a children's book one day, he considered himself an adult writer first and foremost. In fact his initial breakthrough was with an adult book, in February 1999, called "Ayuamarca" (later republished as "Procession of the Dead"), the first of a trilogy of books known as "The City". That was followed by "Hell's Horizon" in February 2000. Then, several years later, when the first two were re-edited and re-released, he published the third book, "City of the Snakes".
In January 2000 Darren's first children's book, "Cirque du Freak", which he'd written as a fun side-project, was published. The first book in a series titled "The Saga of Darren Shan" (or "Cirque du Freak" as it's known in America), it attracted rave reviews and an ever-growing army of fans hungry to learn more about vampires which were quite unlike any that anyone had ever seen before.
Darren loved writing for children so much that for the next several years he focused almost exclusively on his books for younger readers. First, he wrote a total of twelve books about vampires. He quickly followed up his vampiric saga with "The Demonata," a series about demons. He also wrote a one-off short book, called "Koyasan", for World Book Day in the UK in 2006.
In addition to writing for children, Darren has now returned to his first love and is once again writing for adults as well. He has had three adult books ("The City Trilogy") published to date, with a new, one-off thriller with supernatural tones scheduled for release in the UK in 2012, called "Lady of the Shades."
The movie rights to Cirque Du Freak were bought by Universal, and a movie (which combines elements from the first three books in the series) was released on October 23rd, 2009, starring newcomer Chris Massoglia as Darren Shan, along with a wide array of established stars such as Josh Hutcherson, John C Reilly, Salma Hayek, Willem Defoe and Ken Watanabe. The movie was called "Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant". It did not do well at the box office and there are no current plans to release any sequels.
Darren Shan books reviewed
When Hagurosan is told to take an offering to the shrine, he reluctantly begins his trek up the mountain. But when he gets hungry and eats the cake meant for the spirits, t...
Cirque du Freak
Darren Shan seems like your average boy--he likes playing football with his mates, passing notes in class and loves spiders. Then, one day, his best mate Steve gets tickets...
The Saga of Larten Crepsley
- Birth of a Killer
Before Cirque Du Freak... Before the war with the vampaneze... Before he was a vampire. Larten Crepsley was a boy. As a child labourer many centuries ago, Larten Crepsley did his job well and without complaint, until the day the foreman killed his brother as an example to the other children. In that moment, young Larten flies into a rage that the foreman wouldn't survive. Forced on the run, he sleeps in crypts and eats cobwebs to get by. And when a vampire named Seba offers him protection and training as a vampire's assistant, Larten takes it.
- Ocean of Blood
Before Larten Crepsley was a vampire general... Before he was Darren Shan's master... Before the War of Scars... Larten Crepsley was a teenager. And he was sick of the pomp and circumstance of fusty old vampires telling him what to do. Taking off on his own with his blood brother, Wester, Larten takes off into the world to see what his newly blooded vampire status can get him in the human world. Sucking all he can out of humanity, Larten stumbles into a violent, hedonistic lifestyle, where cheats beckon, power corrupts, and enemies are waiting.
This is his story.
- Palace of the Damned
Before Madame Octa... Before the Cirque... Before Darren Shan... Larten Crepsley was a young man. After failing his mentor and killing the entire crew of a ship in a bout of revenge for the death of his assistant, Larten is bereft with guilt. He no longer has the drive to live the vampiric life, and hides out in Paris, masquerading as a human. There, he finds some happiness, even falling in love with a girl. But the darkness inside him is too great for humanity, and he is forced to make a choice: hide in the shadows of the human world, or take his place among the vampire clan and protect those weaker than himself. But enemies are waiting, traps are laid, and Larten's path is bound to be strewn with bodies. This is his story.
- Brothers to the Death
Just as Larten is finding a new place for himself in vampire society, trying to help vampires escape the Nazi menace, horrifying tragedy falls on his own family, thanks to the nefarious Vampaneze. With his old friend Wester calling for war against the ancient enemies of vampires, Larten finds himself a figurehead of the campaign. But there are more evil things than just the Vampaneze stirring. And soon, Larten might find himself grieving again – as he faces the worst and final betrayal…
The Thin Executioner
In a kingdom of merciless tyrants, Jebel Rum's family is honoured as royalty because his father is the executioner. But Rashed Rum is near retirement. And when he goes, there will be a contest to determine his successor. It is a contest that thin, puny Jebel has no chance of winning. Humiliated and ashamed, Jebel sets out on a quest to the faraway home of a legendary fire god to beg for inhuman powers so that he can become the most lethal of men. He must take with him a slave, named Tel Hesani, to be sacrificed to the god. It will be a dark and brutal journey filled with lynch mobs, suicide cults, terrible monsters, and worse, monstrous men. But to Jebel, the risk is worth it.
To retrieve his honor… To wield unimaginable power… To become… The thin executioner.
The City Trilogy
- Procession of the Dead
What had I done before coming to the City? I couldn't remember. It sounded crazy but my past was a blank. I could recall every step since alighting from the train, but not a single one before. Young, quick-witted, and cocksure, Capac Raimi arrives in the City determined to make his mark in a world of sweet, sinister sin. He finds the City is a place of exotic dangers: a legendary assassin with snakes tattooed on his face who moves like smoke, blind Incan priests whom no one seems to see, a kingpin who plays with puppets, and friends who mysteriously disappear as though they never existed. Then Capac crosses paths with The Cardinal, and his life changes forever. The Cardinal is the City, and the City is The Cardinal. They are joined at the soul. Nothing moves on the streets, or below them, without The Cardinal's knowledge. His rule is absolute. When Capac discovers how deeply The Cardinal has influenced his life, he is faced with hard choices that conflict with his soaring ambition. To find his way, Capac must know himself and what he is capable of. But how can you trust yourself when you can't remember your past?
- Hell’s Horizon
In the City, The Cardinal rules, and Al Jeery is a loyal member of his personal guard. But when Al is pulled from his duties at Party Central to investigate a murder, an unexpected discovery leads him in a new direction, where his loyalties and beliefs will be severely tested. Soon he is involved in a terrifying mystery that draws in the dead, the City's Incan forefathers, the imposing figure of The Cardinal, and the near-mythical assassin Paucar Wami. Wami is a law unto himself, a shadowy, enigmatic figure who can apparently kill anyone he chooses without fear of punishment or retribution. And Al is about to find out that he has a lot more in common with Wami than he could ever have imagined...
- City of the Snakes
For ten years Capac Raimi has ruled the City. Created by the first Cardinal to continue his legacy, Capac cannot be killed. Then Capac disappears. His trusted lieutenant, Ford Tasso, suspects the mysterious villacs, ancient and powerful Incan priests. To Ford, only one man has the cunning to outwit such adversaries-Al Jeery, who has taken the guise of his father, the terrifying assassin Paucar Wami. Al has no love for Capac and no wish to tangle with the villacs. Until Ford promises him the one thing he truly craves-retribution against the man who killed those he loved most and destroyed his life. Lured into the twisted, nightmarish world of the Incan priests, Al will learn more about the City than he ever imagined, and be offered more power than he ever desired. But in the City, everything comes at a cost...
- Lord Loss
"The door feels red hot, as though a fire is burning behind it. I press an ear to the wood - but there's no crackle. No smoke. Just deep, heavy breathing and a curious dripping sound. My hand's on the door knob. Inside the room, somebody giggles - low, throaty, sadistic. There's a ripping sound, followed by snaps and crunches. My hand turns. The door opens. Hell is revealed." When Grubbs Grady first encounters Lord Loss and his evil minions, he learns three things: the world is vicious, magic is possible, demons are real. He thinks that he will never again witness such a terrible night of death and darkness. He is wrong.
- Demon Thief
Kernel Fleck has always known he's weird. He sees lights. Strange, multi-coloured patches of light, swirling through the air. But it's not until a window opens into a demon world, with horrific consequences, that Kernel discovers his powers. As a Disciple, his mission is to hunt vicious, powerful demons to the death...
Lights. Camera. Slawter! Grubbs Grady and his half-brother Bill-E are thrilled to join their uncle Dervish as onset consultants for the newest movie by cult horror producer David A Hayms. Shot in a deserted town renamed Slawter, the demon-themed movie is to be Hayms's masterpiece. But as strange incidents disrupt the set, Grubbs begins to wonder whether more than filming is afoot.
As demonic Fomorii ravage their land, Bec and a band of warrior companions leave their devastated rath to answer a plea for help. An orphaned priestess-in-training, Bec hopes the journey will help her solve the mysteries of her birth. But fighting demons has a steep price...
- Blood Beast
Grubbs Grady has so far escaped the family curse, but when he begins to experience alarming symptoms at the onset of the full moon, he is scared that the jaws of fate are opening and about to swallow him whole.
He has cheated death, defeated demons, moved on with his life. But Grubbs is torn between the world of magic and his wolfen genes. Can he fight the beast inside or will he fall victim to his tainted blood?
- Demon Apocalypse
Fire! It's all around me, fierce, intense, out of control. I feel the hair on my arms singe and know I have only seconds before I burst into flames. Total panic. There's a horrible shrieking sound, piercing and destructive. My eardrums and eyeballs should burst. "It's hell!" I moan. One boy's life ripped to shreds before his eyes... One wrathful demon master hell-bent on revenge... An army of grisly Demonata on the rampage... It's the end of the world as we know it.
- Death’s Shadow
I'm a human sponge - I soak up memories. I feel like a thief, stealing secrets with an innocent touch. I don't like this gift. It's intrusive and sneaky. I think it's harmless, but I can't be sure. If knowledge is power, why do I feel so alone...? The apocalypse came and the world burned. But it wasn't the end, and out of the destruction, new life has emerged. Bec is back to face the Demonata. After centuries of imprisonment, she's more powerful than ever, but the demons no longer stand alone. Something else has crawled out of the darkness with her. Lord Loss is no longer humanity's greatest threat...
- Wolf Island
As the mysterious Shadow builds an army of demons, Grubbs Grady and his team search desperately for answers. But when they follow up a new lead, it takes them to an old, unexpected foe - the Lambs. "We spot the werewolves as we skim the treetops. Mutated, vicious, hairy monstrosities, all fangs, claws and muscles. The beast within me tries to force its way to the surface, howling silently at its warped brethren. I've never rid myself of the wolf..."
- Dark Calling
I know it's ridiculous. Lights can't whisper. But I swear I heard a voice calling to me. It sounded like static to begin with, but then it came into focus, a single word repeated over and over. Softly, slyly, seductively, insistently. Come..." The Disciples are being manipulated by beings older than time. Only Kernel Fleck knows that something is wrong. But he is in the grip of a creature who cares nothing for the fate of humanity. Voices are calling to him from the darkness and he's powerless to resist. Kernel has already been to hell and back. Now he's about to go further...
- Hell’s Heroes
Beranabus and Dervish are gone. Bec has formed an unholy alliance with Lord Loss. Kernel is blind, held on Earth against his will. Grubbs is mad with grief and spinning out of control. The demons are crossing. The Disciples are falling. The Shadow is waiting. Welcome to the end.
The Saga of Darren Shan
- Cirque Du Freak
Darren goes to a banned freak show with his best mate Steve. It’s the wonderfully gothic Cirque Du Freak where weird, frightening half human/half animals appear who interact terrifyingly with the audience. Darren – a spider freak – ‘falls in love’ with Madam Octa – an enormous tarantala owned by Mr Crepsley. Darren determines to steal the spider so that he can train it to perform amazing deeds. But his daring theft goes horribly wrong and Darren finds himself having to make a bargain with a creature of the night.
- The Vampire’s Assistant
Darren Shan was just an ordinary schoolboy until his visit to the Cirque Du Freak. Now, as he struggles with his new life as a Vampire's Assistant, he tries desperately to resist the one temptation that sickens him, the one thing that can keep him alive. But destiny is calling. The Wolf Man is waiting.
- Tunnels of Blood
Darren, the vampire's assistant, gets a taste of the city when he leaves the Cirque Du Freak with Evra the snake-boy and Mr. Crepsley. When corpses are discovered -corpses drained of blood - Darren and Evra are compelled to hunt down whatever foul creature is committing such horrendous acts. Meanwhile, beneath the streets, evil stalks Darren and Evra, and all clues point to Mr. Crepsley. Can they escape, or are they doomed to perish in the tunnels of blood?
- Vampire Mountain
Darren Shan and Mr. Crepsley embark on a dangerous trek to the very heart of the vampire world. But they face more than the cold on Vampire Mountain-the vampaneze have been there before them. Will a meeting with the Vampire Princes restore Darren's human side, or turn him further toward the darkness? Only one thing is certain - Darren's initiation into the vampire clan is more deadly than he can ever have imagined.
- Trials of Death
The trials: seventeen ways to die unless the luck of the vampire is with you. Darren Shan must pass five fearsome Trials to prove himself to the vampires clan - or face the stakes of the Hall of Death. But Vampire Mountain holds hidden threats. Sinister, potent forces are gathering in the darkness. In this nightmarish world of bloodshed and betrayal, death may be a blessing...
- The Vampire Prince
Branded a traitor, betrayed by a friend, hunted by the vampire clan-Darren Shan, the Vampire's Assistant, faces certain death. Can Darren reverse the odds and outwit a Vampire Prince? Darren's initiation on Vampire Mountain draws to a stunning, bloody conclusion-but the Saga continues…
- Hunters of the Dusk
The pursuit begins... Darren Shan, the Vampire Prince, leaves Vampire Mountain on a life or death mission. As part of an elite force, Darren searches the world for the Vampaneze Lord. But the road ahead is long and dangerous-and lined with the bodies of the damned.
- Allies of the Night
Darren Shan, Vampire Prince and "vampaneze" killer, faces his worst nightmare yet -school. But homework is the least of Darren's problems. Bodies are piling up. Time is running out. And the past is catching up with the hunters fast.
- Killers of the Dawn
Outnumbered, outsmarted and desperate, the hunters are on the run, pursued by the vampaneze, the police, and an angry mob. With their enemies clamouring for blood, the vampires prepare for a deadly battle. Is this the end for Darren and his allies?
- The Lake of Souls
"If you step through after Harkat, you might never come back. Is your friend worth such an enormous risk?"
Darren and Harkat face monstrous obstacles on their desperate quest to the Lake of Souls. Will they survive the savage journey? And what awaits them in the murky waters of the dead? Be careful what you fish for...
- Lord of the Shadows
Darren Shan is going home -and his world is going to hell. Old enemies await. Scores must be settled. Destiny looks certain to destroy him, and the world is doomed to fall to the Ruler of the Night...
- Sons of Destiny
Time seemed to collapse... There was a sharp stabbing sensation in my stomach... Steve crowed, "Now I have you! Now you're gonna die!" Dead if he loses - damned if he wins. The time has finally come for Darren to face his archenemy, Steve Leopard. One of them will die. The other will become the Lord of the Shadows - and destroy the world. Is the future written, or can Darren trick destiny?