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Cirque du Freak (Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare in the United States) is the first novel in The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan. It is part of the "Vampire Blood Trilogy", which comprises the first three of the 12 book saga. Cirque du Freak was first published in Great Britain by HarperCollins in 2000, and was later published in the Vampire Blood Series in 2003 and 2004. Cirque du Freak is now a major motion picture.

Plot Summary

Young Darren Shan has been fascinated by spiders from an early age. His best friend, Steve "Leopard" Leonard, has grown up reading horror comics and stories of the Wolf-Man and vampires. After viewing the "Cirque du Freak" Darren and Steve are mesmerized by the fantastic and disturbing show, especially by the act of the mysterious Mr. Crepsley and his giant spider, Madam Octa

After the show, Steve sneaks back into the theater and confronts Mr. Crepsley about the man being a vampire. He demands to become a vampire too, and join the circus as Mr. Crepsley’s assistant. The vampire refuses Steve upon tasting his blood, and declares his blood “evil”. Steve is enraged, and declares revenge on Mr. Crepsley. Unbeknownst to Steve, Darren has been hiding in the theater, witnessing the confrontation and becoming wary of Steve. Several days later, Darren develops an obsession for Madam Octa, and returns to the theater to steal her, using his knowledge of Mr. Crepsley's true nature to his advantage. He trains the spider in secret with a flute that forces the spider to obey his commands. Eventually, Steve visits Darren, demanding to know why Darren is avoiding him. Darren confesses he stole Madam Octa, but does not confess spying on Steve and Mr. Crepsley. When Steve is at Darren's house playing with Madam Octa, Darren gets distracted, losing control over the spider that he stole from Mr. Crepsley, which hence bites and paralyzes Steve. Steve's only hope for survival is if Darren makes a deal with Mr. Crepsley to become his assistant.

Steve lives, but Darren is turned into a half-vampire and is thrust into the dark world of the vampires. Darren tries to live amongst humans, but decides to join Mr. Crepsley after nearly attacking his sister. In order to successfully free Darren of all previous bonds, including family, Mr. Crepsley helps his apprentice fake his own death by perfectly simulating an accidental, but fatal fall. Following the events of Darren's human body's funeral, Mr. Crepsley digs Darren up. Darren begins his new life as a vampire, but Steve is still hungry for revenge.

Other books in the series

There are 12 total books in the saga, with the first three being made into a major motion picture, The Vampires Assistant.

  1. A Living Nightmare
  2. Vampire's Assistant
  3. Tunnels of Blood
  4. Vampire Mountain
  5. Trials of Death
  6. The Vampire Prince
  7. Hunters of Dusk
  8. Allies of the Night
  9. Killers of the Dawn
  10. The Lake of Souls
  11. Lord of the Shadows
  12. Sons of Destiny
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Cirque du Freak  
[[File:|200px]]
Cirque du Freak 2nd ed. front cover for the UK and Ireland
Author Darren Shan
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series The Saga of Darren Shan
Genre(s) Young adult novel, Horror novel
Publisher Harper Collins
Publication date 4 January 2000
Media type Print (Paperback & Hardback)
Pages 183 pages (paperback)
ISBN 978-0006754169 (first edition, paperback)
OCLC Number 42745230
Followed by The Vampire's Assistant

Cirque du Freak (Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare) is the first novel in The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan. It is part of the Vampire Blood Trilogy, which comprises the first three of the 12 book saga. Cirque du Freak was first published in Great Britain by HarperCollins in 2000, and was later published in the Vampire Blood Series in 2003 and 2004. Cirque du Freak is now a major motion picture.

Plot summary

Young Darren Shan has been fascinated by spiders from an early age. His best friend, Steve "Leopard" Leonard has grown up reading horror comics and stories of the Wolf-Man and vampires. After viewing the "Cirque du Freak" Darren and Steve are mesmerized by the fantastic and disturbing show, especially by the act of the mysterious Mr. Crepsley and his giant, deathly poisonous spider, Madam Octa.

After the show, Steve sneaks back into the theater and confronts Mr. Crepsley about being a vampire. He demands to become a vampire too, and join the circus as Mr. Crepsley’s assistant. The vampire refuses Steve upon tasting his blood, and declaring it “evil”. Steve is enraged, and declares revenge on Mr. Crepsley when he grows up. Unbeknownst to Steve, Darren has hidden in the theater, witnessing the confrontation and becoming wary of Steve. Darren develops an obsession for Madam Octa, and returns to the theater to steal her, using his knowledge of Mr. Crepsley's true nature to his advantage. He trains the spider in secret with a flute that forces the spider to obey his commands. Eventually, Steve visits Darren, demanding to know why Darren is avoiding him. Darren lets slip that he had witnessed Steve's and Mr. Crepsley's talk by falling in a trap of "names" by Steve and that he had stolen Madam Octa. Darren gets distracted, losing control over the spider, which bites and paralyzes Steve. Steve's only hope for survival is if Darren makes a deal with Mr. Crepsley to become his assistant.

Steve lives, but Darren is turned into a half-vampire and is thrust into the dark world of the vampires. Darren tries to live amongst humans, but decides to join Mr. Crepsley after nearly attacking his sister. To successfully free Darren of all previous bonds, including family, Mr. Crepsley helps his apprentice fake his own death by perfectly simulating an accidental, but fatal fall. Following Darren's human body's funeral, Mr. Crepsley digs Darren up. Darren begins his new life as a vampire, ending his days as a human by encountering Steve who vows on his blood to track him and his mentor, Mr. Crepsley, down to the ends of Earth as the world's best Vampire Hunter when he grows up.

See also

  • Freaks, a classic film about a circus of freaks


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