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Killers of the Dawn: Cirque Du Freak    by Darren Shan order for
Killers of the Dawn
by Darren Shan
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2003)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Killers of the Dawn follows Allies of the Night as the third in the Hunters trilogy and ninth in the Cirque Du Freak series starring half-vampire Darren Shan. The three hunters are Vampire Prince Darren, his father figure/mentor Mr. Crepsley and the eccentric Vancha March. Much has been prophesied about their hunt for the Lord of the Vampaneze, whom they must destroy.

The previous episode left Darren's beloved Debbie Hemlock in the hooks of vampaneze R.V. (once the inoffensive Reggie Veggie). The three hunters and the Frankenstein-like (in physique) Harkat Mulds fled to fight another day, with Steve Leonard (once Darren's best friend) as hostage. Unfortunately, the vampaneze rouse the city's law enforcement against them, resulting in several good guys being hauled off in handcuffs. There's an escape, a chase scene involving a bloodthirsty mob, and a flight across rooftops. Then Darren and his friends walk into another trap in a desperate attempt, against impossible odds, to save Debbie and bring the 'War of the Scars' to a conclusion.

Darren is torn in this episode between his old friendship with Steve and his hatred of Steve's current acts, between his love for Debbie and his duty as a vampire prince, between loyalty to a mentor and to the vampire race. He makes tough choices, while Vancha's attraction to tough police Chief Inspector Alice Burgess adds comic relief. This episode ends with Darren in despair, after he finally learns the identity of the Lord of the Vampaneze. What's next? We'll have to wait for #10, The Lake of Souls, to find out.

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