Plot Outline:Book 9 of The Saga Of Darren Shan.
The hunters have become the hunted. Pursued by human forces, they are now wanted fugitives. Before they can hunt for the Lord of the Vampaneze again, they must first outwit and outpace the mob on the streets of the city. If they survive, they face their longest night and most testing challenge to date. Will any of them live to see the dawn?
Killers Of The Dawn is the third and final part of "the Hunters trilogy". The Saga Of Darren Shan continues in Book 10:The Lake Of Souls.
Author Notes:!!!PLOT SPOILERS!!!
Some readers on my message board have compared the structure of the Saga to Star Wars!!! This actually isn’t as crazy as it might sound!! I was thinking about those movies when writing the books, though I wouldn't say they were a huge influence. Though I did pay homage to them with the "May the luck of the vampires be with you" line!!!
I actually had to write most of book 9 twice!!! I was doing the first draft not long before book 1 was released. (Yes, I was that far ahead of schedule!! Though I would spend the next few years editing it.) I had most of it written, maybe 100 pages or so (the books normally come out at around the 130 page mark on my PC) -- when my computer crashed!!! Once I had it fixed, and checked my back-up copy, I realized I hadn't been as cautious as I should have been -- and only had something like the first 20 pages saved to disc!!!!!
Rather than get depressed about it, I just accepted that it was my fault and resigned myself to having to do an almost total rewrite. I was about to go on holiday (to Sinai -- my first trip abroad since I was a teenager), so I left the book until I returned, then sat down and wrote it all again. I have to say it was for the best -- since I'd already written most of it, I knew where the problem areas were, so I was able to do a very strong new first draft, probably the closest to the final version of any of my books. Though it's not something I'd like to have to face again!!! These days I backup to disc at the end of every writing session -- something I recommend ALL writers should do, since you never know when that fatal crash is going to happen!!!!
I loved the idea of setting the action within the space of 24 hours -- it allowed me to crank up the pace and have everything happen really quickly. (I've used a similarly fast style in Lord Loss, the first draft of which I wrote not long after writing book 9.)
I knew from far in advance that XXXcensoredXXX was going to bite the bullet in this one, so that wasn't a hard scene for me to write, though my stomach did clench a bit when I was doing his final speech (as it did every time I read through it when editing).
The one bit of the book which troubled me was the scene just after his death -- the fake rescue. This was in the first draft, but every time I came to edit the book, I was intent on removing it. I just felt it was too cruel, that I'd be hitting readers twice with his death -- giving them hope that he was going to survive, then killing him off again. But every time I came to that scene and re-read it, I saw that I had to leave it in -- it drives home the fact that he really is dead, that there isn't going to be some miraculous resurrection, either in this book or the others. Sorry, folks!!!
View full covers gallery
Killers of the Dawn (Czech Republic HB)
Killers of the Dawn (USA PB 2nd Gen)
Killers of the Dawn (Ireland and UK 3rd Edition Early Draft)
Killers of the Dawn (USA PB)
Killers of the Dawn (Japan Manga)