Plot Outline:

Picking up Larten's story several years after "Palace of the Damned," this begins with the vampire in an unusually content place. With a young vampire to mentor, a family of sorts in Paris, and important work as a Vampire General to deal with, he is as happy as he has ever been. Then a name from his trouble past resurfaces and Larten's life is thrown once again into violent chaos. Setting out on a twisted, dangerous path, he crosses the world in search of an elusive foe. His star within the vampire ranks keeps on rising, but he has never felt so lonely and wretched. He thinks he has hit rock-bottom, but what he doesn't know is that the worst is yet to come. His darkest hour still lies ahead of him...

Author Notes:

Brothers To The Death, the fourth book in The Saga Of Larten Crepsley, went on sale on 26th April 2012. I wrote the first draft of the book in May 2007, shortly after writing the first three in the series. (I would have written it in April, but I had to go on tour to the States that month.) I did my last bit of work on it (and on the entire series) on November 1st 2011.

When Darren first met Gavner in The Vampire's Assistant he was told that Gavner and Larten had been on a secret mission together sixty or so years earlier, during which they had been forced to share a coffin. I knew I would have to deal with that in this book. When I put my thinking cap on, and started looking at the timeline, I realised it tied in fairly neatly with the period when the Nazis were on the rise in Europe. Since it's widely known that many Nazis were interested in the supernatural, it seemed natural that they would seek out vampires and try to form an allegiance -- and that gave me my starting point for the book.

We also knew from the original series that Mr Crepsley had almost been appointed a Vampire Prince, but had chosen to break away from the clan, without discussing his reasons with anyone. This for me was the crux of this series -- all four books have been about arriving at the point where Larten abandons his destined path, about explaining why he turned his back on the world of power, respect and happiness. I didn't want it to be over some trivial argument, so this book had to feature the most troubling, gut-wrenching and powerful few chapters of the entire series. I have to be honest -- they were hard (emotionally speaking) to write. I hated hurting Larten so much in this book, but I knew that I had to, in order for his story to all tie together and make sense.

As sad as this book is, I also think that, taken in context, it makes the following chunk of his story (i.e. the sections described in Cirque Du Freak and the other books about Darren Shan) all the more empowering. Larten's story has, since the start, been one of overcoming setbacks. Every time that the world kicks him in the teeth, he picks himself up and pushes on. That's what makes him such a fascinating figure. When you put these four books together with my other vampire books, it shows the full picture of how he managed to recover from a tragedy that would have marked the end of most people. So while you might shed a few tears reading this, don't forget what came next in his life -- or, if you haven't read The Saga of Darren Shan, press on and do so as soon as you can!

There were a few other loose ends that I had to tie up in this book, to link it with the following series, and I had lots of fun doing that. Some of the links were minor in the grand scheme of things -- such as explaining how Larten came to know Jimmy Ovo (how many of you remember HIM?!?). Others were major -- like introducing Madam Octa into the storyline. But the one I had the most fun with was revealing the secret behind Vancha's green hair -- you might never look at him in the same way again once you find out where the "dye" comes from!

p.s. In October 2010, I auctioned off the naming rights for one of the characters in Brothers to the Death, in aid of an autism charity. The winner of the auction wanted the character named after a girl. The character I originally had in mind was a man in the earlier drafts. When I changed the character’s genre, I had to rewrite that section of the book, and it brought a whole new dimension to the scenes, so I ended up being very pleased at being forced to make the change! The name to look out for in the book is Holly-Jane Galinec.

p.p.s. I sometimes get asked if I get sad when I kill off characters. The answer is usually no -- as a writer, I tend not to be as emotionally involved with my characters as my readers are, because I know everything that's coming in advance, so there's a certain amount of emotion distance for me. But the scene on the skyscraper near the end of this book left me with a lump in my throat, which came back every time I edited the book. I truly felt for Larten here, the pain he went through, how awful it must have been for him, the years of grief and guilt that he had to deal with afterwards. I know most of you cried (or came close to it) when reading Killers Of The Dawn, but this is the one that got to ME the most.

Global Cover Variations

  • Book Cover Image Brothers To The Death back cover (Japan)
  • Book Cover Image Brothers to the Death - UK 1st draft
  • Book Cover Image Brothers To The Death (Czech)
  • Book Cover Image Brothers To The Death (Taiwan)
  • Book Cover Image Brothers To The Death (USA)
  • View full covers gallery

    From the Gallery
  • Demonata audio books recap

    from Darren's Blog on 19 June 2024

    I seem to get asked about audio books for The Demonata every other day! I've summarised before,...

    Read full entry
  • TOUR details - see Shanville Monthly

    from Events on 06 August 2017

    Read full entry
  • From Twitter: