Plot Outline:

Book 11 of The Saga Of Darren Shan. Darren's going home. Back to where everything started. The town's changed a lot in the years that he's been away -- but then, so has Darren.

Plagued by nightmares of what the future seems to hold, Darren feels uneasy revisiting the place where he was re-born as a child of the night, as though the universe (as though destiny) is plotting to throw something very nasty at him on the streets of his old home.

It is.

Travel home with Darren in the penultimate book of the Saga, then join him on his final outing in book 12, Sons Of Destiny!

Author Notes:

The 11th book of The Saga Of Darren Shan went on sale on June 7th, 2004. The series had really started to take off around the globe -- book 8 scored a #1 hit in Taiwan (overall bestseller, topping the adult charts as well as the children's) and book 7 spent three weeks on the New York Times Top 10 Children's Bestsellers chart. In the UK it finally began to impinge on the charts too, spending four weeks in the top 10, though it got no higher than #7. Still, it was a sign that things were picking up on the home front as well as abroad, and my fanbase continued to snowball from here.

Lord Of The Shadows was game-changer for me, in the most literal sense of the phrase. I originally planned the series to be 18 books or more, and that was my intention right up to when I started work on volume 11. As I was planning this book, I realized that, if I wished, I could use the end which I had planned for the end of the series in book 12 and stop there, and that it would make perfect sense coming at that point of the story-line. At first I just smiled at the thought and went ahead and wrote the original draft of book 11, which was about 50% longer than the book that finally got published (it carried on after the scene in the theatre, to the final fight between Darren, Steve and Vancha which ended up being moved to #12). I then started planning the original book 12 (which was to have been called "The Cannibal King") and went ahead and wrote it.

But I couldn't get the notion of stopping the series early out of my head. It just wouldn't go away, while I working on the first drafts of book 11, then The Cannibal King. I tried to ignore the voice saying "Stop, Darren, stop!" for reasons that I will elaborate on in my book 12 notes. It was only when I finished the first draft of The Cannibal King that I realized that the voice was right -- the character of Darren didn't belong in the second half of the story line which I had planned. His story -- which was, more than anything else, a coming of age story -- had run its course and it was time to let the sweet prince lie.

Also, the series was becoming more and more adult in tone. This was to reflect the changes that Darren had undergone. Don't forget, in the timeline of the book, more than twenty years have passed between the events of book 1 and this book. Although Darren still looks young, he's a man, and so is Steve. The cliffhanger ending of book 11 (with Shancus in the theatre) could have smoothly fit into any adult horror series. This was no longer a story of two boys struggling with one another -- these were two men, prepared to go to any lengths to lay the other low. If I'd continued the series, I don't think I could have matched the tone with the tone of the first half. That would have been fine for readers who had matured with the books and who were now adults themselves, but it would have been a big problem for 10 and 11 year olds who were coming fresh to the series.

So I went back, took out a lot of the later chapters of book 11 and moved them forward to be used in the new version of volume 12 that I was now planning, and set to work on the re-writing and editing process for the now shorter book 11.

Once I'd decided to end at book 12, I was much happier than I had been while writing the original 11th draft and The Cannibal King -- the book felt more natural now, and although I was nervous about fan reaction to the news of the imminent end (and all the money I was going to miss out on by not continuing!), I knew I was doing the right thing, and that the Saga would now end on a logical high.

Oh, and book 11 was originally called Sons of Destiny, the name that I eventually gave to the 12th and final book!

One final thing. While the relationship between Darren and Debbie was an important part of the series, I had never planned for them to become a couple. Darren's physical situation was always a deterrent -- in the first half, he was too young to date a grown woman, and it wouldn't have been possible in the second half of the story either, for reasons I won't go into. But I didn't plan to leave Debbie pining for her childhood love. Oh no. I had Miss Hemlock's future all mapped out, and she was going to find love and a very productive partnership with... Alice Burgess!!

I actually wrote this into the first draft of Lord Of The Shadows. In the original draft, Darren was excited about completing the Purge and becoming a man, because he thought it would allow him to court Debbie. Then he found out that she and Alice were already an item, and though he was sad, he was glad that she was happy, and hoped they would have many long and enjoyable years together. I thought it was a nice, sweet touch, but my agent didn't agree and persuaded me to remove it, arguing that it served as a distraction during a crucial period in the story's arc, especially now that I had taken the decision to end things with book 12. He may well have been right, but part of me still wishes I'd left it in, and in my mind's eye Debbie and Alice have always been a couple since this point in the Saga.

Global Cover Variations

  • Book Cover Image Lord of the Shadows (USA PB 2nd Gen)
  • Book Cover Image Lord Of The Shadows (UK manga)
  • Book Cover Image Lord of the Shadows (Ireland and UK 3rd Edition)
  • Book Cover Image Lord of the Shadows (Taiwan Manga)
  • Book Cover Image Lord of the Shadows (Turkey)
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