Lord LossDarren Shan - The DemonataShanville Monthly
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BOOK 1 - Lord Loss

"lord loss sows all the sorrows of the world"


Grubbs Grady is an average kid. A bit bigger and slyer than a lot of boys his age (he loves to play evil, ingenious tricks on his sister), but nothing special. He leads an ordinary life, and expects it will always be that way. But when his parents and sister behave strangely ... and Grubbs decides to stick his nose in ... his entire world is thrown into chaos. He discovers that demons are real, and that terrible things can happen right in front of your eyes.

As Grubbs slowly and painfully tries to deal with his new situation, help appears in the form of a friendly, eccentric relative. Grubbs moves to the countryside to recover, and starts putting his life back together. But there are secrets to be uncovered and hard truths to learn, and Grubbs is about to find out that as crazy and deadly as the world now seems, life is about to get a whole lot worse!!!

"Lord Loss" is the first book of "The Demonata", a ten-book series which will take readers into new worlds and universes, all of them populated or threatened by demons. Fast-paced and bloody, horrific and fantastic, frightening and exciting. You might never look at the world in the same way again ...


How could I possibly follow an epic, international, multi-million selling series like "The Saga Of Darren Shan"?!? Simple -- by creating one of the fastest, hardest hitting stories ever written for children!!!!

Originally I didn't plan to write another series. I wrote the first draft of "Lord Loss" back in February 2001. Like "Cirque Du Freak", I managed to squeeze all of my plot notes for it on to a single A4 sheet of paper, and that was what I worked from and built the book up out of!! (Although I did put the names of the characters, and brief descriptions of them, on another sheet!)

I knew I couldn't release "Lord Loss" until "The Saga" was over, so I set it aside for a couple of years and focused on completing my vampire series. In May 2003, I returned to the book, did a second draft and got stuck into the editing process. I'd had some ideas for other books about demons during the intervening two years, but didn't think I could work a series out of them. I thought I'd simply do a few books which featured the character of Lord Loss, but were otherwise unrelated.

That changed utterly and completely over the next year and a half, as I was led on a bizarre and unorthodox chase through my imagination and an ever-expanding universe of demonic ideas. By the end of it, I was looking at a 10 book, tightly interconnected, non-linear, ultra-ambitious series about demons, magic, and the origins of life, the universe and everything -- but more about that later!!

"Lord Loss" is the entry point for readers into the world and ways of The Demonata, but it was intended to be read -- and still can be -- as a single, stand-alone book. Later books will tie in with "Lord Loss" ... characters from it will return (Grubbs Grady will be the most prominent character of the series) ... and we'll learn a lot more about magic, demons and chess!!! But there's no need for you, the readers, to worry about any of that right now. Just sit back, tuck in, and enjoy the ride!!

It starts viciously -- chapter 2 is probably the most shocking thing I've ever written in a children's book. There were two reasons why I chose to place this scene so early, and to make it so violent. First, I wanted to make it clear to readers from the beginning that we were in a world where the rules are different. There weren't many out-and-out villains in my vampire books. I tried to keep all of the characters as human as possible, and to explain their motives if they went off the rails and committed wicked acts. But the demons in these books are entirely without human emotions. They're monsters straight out of a nightmare. They don't play by our rules. They're cruel and destructive. I felt it was important to stress that at the start.

But I also started in such fast, brutal style because I didn't want to upset my readers too much!! It might sound strange, but I really do think a lot about what I put in my books, and I try not to throw in gratuitous violence which will revolt more sensitive readers. Normally I'd have developed the relationships between Grubbs and his family, and given them several chapters together -- like the way I sketched in the details of Darren's home life in "Cirque Du Freak". But I didn't want readers to get too attached to these characters, because I knew that would make it more upsetting when they had their unfortunate run-in with Lord Loss. So, by not spending too much time on Grubbs' family, I hopefully lessened the blow of what happened to them.

"Lord Loss" actually started life several years before 2001 -- as a poem!!! I wrote the poem which appears at the front of the book a long time ago (early or mid 1990s, I think), and it was published in a book called "Quiet Moments", in January 1997, by International Society of Poets, edited by Mariah Hourihan. (There are certain money-making publishers who publish books with hundreds of poems in them, all by amateurs. They then sell the finished books to the people who contributed. It's a form of vanity publishing. I sent "Lord Loss" in out of curiosity, to see what the process would be like. I never bought a copy of the book, which I'm a bit sad about now!!!)

I wrote a lot of poetry in my teens, and even into my early 20s, but I quickly forgot most of them. (They were usually morbid, cynical rants -- the sort of stuff moody teenagers excel at!!) But "Lord Loss" stuck with me. I often thought about the ghoulish character I'd created, and wondered if there was more of a story to him than I'd first thought. As it turned out, there was!!!!


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