The fourth novel in this bonechilling series by Darren Shan, author of the New York Times bestselling Cirque Du Freak series, will keep readers turning page after horrifying page. As demonic Fomorii ravage their land, Bec and a band of warrior companions leave their devastated rath to answer... read more
When a "simple child" named Bran who can run incredibly fast comes to Bec's demon-besieged rath, she and a small consignment of warriors go with him, including the chief's son, Connla, who is "largely untested" in battle; Goll, an old warrior; Lorcan and Ronan, two teenage twins; Fiachna the... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
When a "simple child" named Bran who can run incredibly fast comes to Bec's demon-besieged rath, she and a small consignment of warriors go with him, including the chief's son, Connla, who is "largely untested" in battle; Goll, an old warrior; Lorcan and Ronan, two teenage twins; Fiachna the blacksmith; and Orna, a female warrior. He leads them to a crannóg, where everyone is dead except a druid, Drust. The druid tells them about a tunnel to the demons' world, and how he aims to destroy it. They go with him.
During their journey, they encounter many demons, including the terrifying Lord Loss, with whom Bec engages in a battle. She appears to absorb power from him, and after the encounter begins to learn magic at a phenomenal rate. Drust gets worried, and asks her for permission to go into her mind. He discovers that Lord Loss had given Bec part of his power, opening up her magical side, though no one knows for what purpose.
Eventually they arrive at a village, where Bec learns about her heritage and that she is part of a clan prone to lycanthropy. After a long journey, they arrive at the cliffs. Lord Loss appears, intrigued by a chessboard Drust got from the Elders. He is then thrown out magically, and places a geis (a demon curse) on them. Although dismissing it as untrue, the group are immediately affected by the geis; Orna is killed by her undead children. They arrive at the coast, where they share a small battle with some demons, and, according to Connla, Ronan is forced over into the sea and Fiachna is wounded badly. That night Bec and Drust use magic to go down into an underwater cave, and they meet the mystical Old Creatures, who tell them where the tunnel is and how to destroy it. It emerges that a druid or priestess must be sacrificed, which reveals why Drust needs Bec. Back on dry land, while Bec and Drust are talking about the sacrifice, Bran overhears and tries to help.
The group find some horses which help them reach their destination in time, but Fiachna is soon abandoned after his wound becomes life-threatening. When they arrive at the demon-guarded tunnel, they find Drust's brother Brude trapped and part of the entrance. Brude opened the tunnel and let the entire demon race loose on the Earth to prevent all of Ireland converting to Christianity. It transpires that Drust was motivated because he knew his brother had unleashed the demons. Connla betrays the group, revealing he was working for Lord Loss all along and it was he who caused all the deaths of the others of their party. Bec pushes him under a waterfall, breaking his protective spell of demonic blood and allowing the demons to slaughter him. Lorcan and Goll are also attacked and die in battle. When Bec is about to be sacrificed, Drust is knifed in the back by Bran and Bec realizes Bran wouldn't let her die. Drust tells her to use him as the sacrifice, as he is about to die anyway. When the tunnel is destroyed, Brude's mouth starts to close. They appear to be able to make for the exit initially, but Vein (one of Lord Loss' familiars) catches onto her leg. She fights her off, but too slowly; they lose their chance to make it out of the tunnel in time. As the tunnel starts to close, Bec uses her magic to force Bran to use his running skills to escape. The tunnel closes and Lord Loss appears to her, revealing that closing the tunnel makes no difference, and that he has been walking the earth for hundreds of years before this tunnel was opened. He then apologizes to Bec, but says he must go through with the geis he placed on them, and walks off with Drust's chessboard (to be seen in Demon Thief later). In the last sentences of the book she is trapped in the tunnel, being brutally torn apart by the demons. Presumably, the only survivor of the group of warriors is Bran.
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