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Trials of Death (Cirque Du Freak: Saga of Darren Shan) Audio CD – Audiobook, Dec 2013

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (Dec. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1482947056
  • ISBN-13: 978-1482947052
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13 x 14.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,594,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Darren Shan's real name is Darren O'Shaughnessy (pronounced O-Shock-Nessy, though it can also be pronounced O-Shawn-Essy). 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, which may explain his fascination with evil bloodsuckers! He lived in South East London, near the Elephant & Castle. He started school at the early age of three (he was such a wild child, no pre-school facility would have him!), in English Martyrs. At the age of six, he moved to Limerick in Ireland, with his parents and younger brother, and has lived there ever since.

Shan 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. He then worked for a cable television company in Limerick for a couple of years, before setting up as a full-time writer at the age of 23.

Although Shan always wanted to be a writer, it was only in his teenage years that he began writing in his spare time for fun (before that, he only wrote stories if they were for homework). He bought his first typewriter when he was 14, and never looked back, knocking out loads of short stories and comic scripts, and making false starts on several books, which he never completed. He enjoyed his first taste of literary success at age 15, as a runner-up in a television script-writing competition for RTE in Ireland, with a dark comedy script titled A Day in the Morgue (he was morbid even then!).

Shan 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, his output shot up to 5 to 6 books per year! But that has dropped back to 2 to 3 recently, due to all the travelling around he's been doing to promote sales of his books.

All of these early books were adult-oriented. Although Shan quite liked the idea of writing a children's book one day, he considered himself an adult writer first and foremost. In fact, Shan's initial breakthrough was with an adult book, in 1999, titled Ayuamarca (since re-released in the UK as Procession Of The Dead, and coming to the USA in 2010).

In January 2000, his 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!

Shan loved writing for children so much, that for the next several years he focused exclusively on his books for younger readers. First, he wrote a total of 12 books about vampires. He quickly followed up his vampiric saga with The Demonata, a series about demons. Running to ten books in total, The Demonata cemented Shan's place in the UK as the Master Of Children's Horror, and saw him score his first UK #1 bestseller. He also wrote a one-off short book, called Koyasan, for Wold Book Day in the UK.

There was a very successful manga adaptation of Shan's vampire series, drawn by the Japanese artist, Takahiro Arai. It was originally serialized in Japan, but collected volumes are now on sale in the USA, UK and other countries.

In addition to writing for children, Shan has now returned to his first love and is once again writing for adults as well. He has had two adult books published in the UK, Procession Of The Dead and Hell's Horizon. They have been released in a number of other countries too, and are due to hit the USA in 2010. A third, City of the Snakes, goes on sale in the UK in March 2010. His first adult books were released under the name of D B Shan, but they are being reprinted under the name of Darren Shan in March 2010, and City of the Snakes will be released under the Darren Shan name.

By the start of 2010, Shan's books were on sale in every continent, in 39 countries, in 31 languages, and have been children's bestsellers in America, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and other countries. The books have topped adult bestseller charts in Hungary, Japan and Taiwan. In total, Shan's books have sold close to 15 million copies worldwide!!!!

The movie rights to Cirque Du Freak were bought by Universal, and the first 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 was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in February 2010.

A big film buff, with a collection of more than four thousand movies at home, Shan also reads lots of comics and books, and likes to study and collect original artwork, especially comic art and impressionist and post-impressionist art. He has recently started adding sculptures to his collection, making use of the large, empty field outside his back door. Other interests include long walks, watching football (he's a Tottenham Hotspur and Ireland fan), listening to pop and rock music, theatre, worldwide travel, sampling the delights of both gourmet cuisine and finger-licking junk food, and dreaming up new ways to terrify his readers!!!

Shan spends most of his time in Limerick, Ireland, with his girlfriend Bas. He has no pets, but a neighbourhood dog called Goldie joins him on his walks most days. He also feeds a variety of wild birds, and spots the occasional hare and pheasant strolling through his back yard. In addition to his main home in Ireland, Shan has an apartment in London, to which he escapes for a burst of high-speed living every so often, when he feels the need to get his juices flowing!! Shan rarely writes when in London or on the road, preferring to tie himself to his computer when at home in Limerick, where he can work away solidly without any distractions in the peace and quiet of the Irish countryside.

Product Description


Cirque Du Freak
“…fast-paced and compelling book which leaves the reader hungry for more.”
JK Rowling

‘Brilliant, macabre tale.’

"I read Cirque Du Freak last week. I loved it. I love the way you manage to juggle the funny with the unpleasant, the affection with the hurt. It's
great story-telling."
Roddy Doyle

The Vampire’s Assistant
“The Vampire’s Assistant blazes a thrilling, gruesome trail through a fascinating plot.”
The Good Book Guide

Vampire Mountain
“Get your teeth into it!”
Funday Times

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Book 5 of The Saga Of Darren Shan. Five Trials -- five chances for Darren Shan to prove himself worthy of being a vampire -- five ways to die!

But while Darren struggles to complete and survive his perilous Trials, other forces are at work deep within Vampire Mountain. Their goal: to wipe the Princes and Generals from the face of the earth!! Darren is poised to uncover a shocking conspiracy -- but will he live long enough to spread the warning???

Trials Of Death is the middle book of the Vampire Mountain trilogy. Fast, fierce and furious, this is certainly not a book for the faint-hearted! The most action-packed entry in the series -- so far!!! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
"flames bellowing all around me" a simple line for an astonding book.A book for any age.Altough it was short it did not leave my hand for a second until it was finshed.It was brillant it was so easy to place yourself in Darrens place to imagine u doing what he did.It was amazing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stampy on 9 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
The fifth instalment of the saga is by far the most daring and exciting by Shan as he continues the story of half vampire Darren who has to undertake 5 deadly trials to prove he has what it takes to be a true vampire.

Shan had set the bench mark with a gruesome opening in Cirque Du Freak and maintains the horror genre through some graphic tales, most particular in Tunnels of Blood, but this fifth part of the saga is by far the best with more intensity, excitement and a more thorough look at the deadly games the vampires play.

Vampire Mountain left us hanging and the opening to the fifth can take a while after all the usual catch up information, but when Darren enters his first task, does the adrenaline really kick in with death defying situations and an unthinkable task for a vampire, let alone a human, which puts the reader in an uncomfortable but excited state of mind, pure horrific and intelligent genius by Shan.

So far Darren has steadily gone through his responsibilities, but here he is truly tested and for perhaps the first time, we see the true action character of Darren Shan, using his intelligence and power in his life, and we get to see a different more accomplished person that has grown before our very eyes, which is masked perfectly by the ending to this book, a true nail biting finale that will make you grab Vampire Prince straight away.

The action is hardly ever short of exciting with all elements including fire, water and earth all used for drastic and dramatic effect by the author. The question of realism always hangs around but as a fantasy genre it is forgivable.

Thankfully, there aren't as many annoying questions by characters in this novel, more of an approach when necessary or involved.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca on 1 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the fifth book of the Cirque Du Freak series. In this book Darren is a half vampire but everyone looks down at him because he is only half of what they are. To be reconized as a full vampire, he needs to endure 5 deadly trials. These are known as the Trials of Initiation, but in Darren's case, it is the Trials of Death because he is a half vampire and does not have features of a full vampire such as cut healing saliva. Darren faces the water maze trial which he needs to carry a heavy rock and find his way of out the maze before it completely fills up with water and drown. He manages to pass that test but then he faces the fire maze, he needs to survive a few minutes in a room with bursting flames, will he make it alive or get burned to death?
I can make a text to world connection from reading this book. Many people train to get what they want or to achieve something. Just like Darren, he is enduring all this training in order to pass the trials and acheieve the honor of a vampire. It is the same idea in sports training, you work really hard to get really good and then you will have a good honor.
I rate this book 5 stars because I really think it is unique how this author put himself into the story. Something else I really liked is the standards the authors gave to the vampires and how hard it is to attempt to be on
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By Barmy_Bex on 17 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Things start to get rather hair-raising in this volume. If you thought it was good before you haven't seen anything yet. This is by far my favourite of the series (so far). In order to be accepted as a member in the Vampire Clan it is decided that Darren must face 'The Trials' a series of tasks designed to test a vampire to his limits, if he fails, he dies. If he succeeds but then can't go on to the next challenge he is also killed. The future does not look promising for Darren, still only a half-vampire he doesn't have the same skills and strength as a fully fledged member, but there is no backing down. 5 challenges await him, and the future is uncertain.
As I said before, knowing that there are still 6 books to go lets it down a little as you know he is going to survive! But I certainly wasn't expecting what did happen and that ending!!! Blimey!
Darren Shan just has the most amazing way of telling a story and making you feel like you are part of it. I am totally obsessed. This series is taking over!
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By slick on 3 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
This is by far the best darren shan book yet full of action, drama but at the same time not going overbored and making the book seem unrelistic. Also in this book I think you really see the relationship between darren and larten really develop. Darren and larten have been together a number of years and I think they have both developed dramaticaly over time. I think in this book we see a slightly harder side of darren which is prepared to fight and a softer side of larten which cares alot for darren. I think in this book larten sees darren less as a assistant and more as a friend.

Also I like the introduction of the vampezes, I like the idear of the vampires having an enemy that can match them in speed and power. Most vampire books I have read show vampires as blood sucking monsters with there only enemy being the sun. This book is very different and shows vampires as honourable men who are far from invincable with real enimies.
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