Original cover of Bec. This picture is of Drust's evil brother, Brude.
|Cover artist||Melvyn Grant|
|Series||The Demonata series|
|Genre||Horror, Fantasy novel|
|Publisher||HarperCollins, Little, Brown|
|2 October 2006|
|Media type||Print (hardback)|
|Pages||272 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-00-723131-8 (first edition, hardback)|
|Followed by||Blood Beast|
Bec is a book by Darren Shan in The Demonata series. It is the fourth book of the series released but it is first chronologically. The protagonist of the book is the central character Bec. It is set in Ireland around 1600 years ago. The last line of the book, "Screams in the dark," is also the first line of the book, as well as the tagline for the novel. Bec is the end of the first part of the Demonata books, where the three protagonists are introduced.
Long ago, there was a young orphan called Bec. What will happen to her when she confronts forces of unspeakable horror?
When a "simple child" named Bran who can run incredibly fast comes to Bec's demon-besieged rath, she and a small consignment of warriors go with him, including the chief's son, Connla, who is "largely untested" in battle; Goll, an old warrior; Lorcan and Ronan, two teenage twins; Fiachna the blacksmith; and Orna, a female warrior. During the journey, the group is attacked by demons, but luckily manage to hide near some ancient lodestones which protects them with powerful Old Magic. Eventually, Bran leads them to a crannóg, where everyone is dead except a druid, Drust. The druid tells them about a tunnel to the demons' world, and how he aims to destroy it. They go with him.
During their journey, they encounter many demons, including the terrifying Lord Loss, with whom Bec engages in a battle. She appears to absorb power from him, and after the encounter begins to learn magic at a phenomenal rate. Drust gets worried, and asks her for permission to go into her mind (like Dervish Grady asks Grubbs in Slawter). He discovers that Lord Loss had given Bec part of his power,(later revealed to the power given by Lord loss is the power of the kah gash.) opening up her magical side, though no one knows for what purpose.
Eventually they arrive at a village, where Bec learns about her heritage and that she is part of a clan prone to lycanthropy (this is a link to the Garadexes, Grubbs' ancestors). After a long journey, they arrive at the cliffs. Lord Loss appears, intrigued by a chessboard Drust got from the Elders. He is then thrown out magically, and places a geis (a demon curse) on them. Although dismissing it as untrue, the group are immediately affected by the geis; Orna is killed by her undead children. They arrive at the coast, where they share a small battle with some demons, and, according to Connla, Ronan is forced over into the sea and Fiachna is fatally infected with demon poison. That night Bec and Drust use magic to go down into an underwater cave, and they meet the mystical Old Creatures, who tell them where the tunnel is and how to destroy it. It emerges that a druid or priestess must be sacrificed, which reveals why Drust needs Bec. Back on dry land, while Bec and Drust are talking about the sacrifice, Bran overhears.
The group find some horses which help them reach their destination in time, but Fiachna is soon abandoned after his wound becomes life-threatening. When they arrive at the demon-guarded tunnel, they find Drust's brother Brude trapped and part of the entrance. Brude opened the tunnel and let the entire demon race loose on the Earth to prevent all of Ireland converting to Christianity. It transpires that Drust was motivated because he knew his brother had unleashed the demons. Connla betrays the group, revealing he was working for Lord Loss all along and it was he who caused all the deaths of the others of their party. Bec pushes him under a waterfall, breaking his protective spell of demonic blood and allowing the demons to slaughter him. Lorcan and Goll are also attacked and die in battle. When Bec is about to be sacrificed, Drust is knifed in the back by Bran and Bec realises Bran wouldn't let her die. Drust tells her to use him as the sacrifice, as he is about to die anyway. When the tunnel is destroyed, Brude's mouth starts to close.
Bec manages to force Bran through the closing tunnel at the last moment with the last of her magic, but is trapped as a result. Soon after, Lord Loss appears and tells Bec that when she appeared to absorb power from him several days earlier, Lord Loss had actually intended for that to happen so that she could close the tunnel. This is because Lord Loss is unique among demons, in that instead of wishing to slaughter all the humans in the world, he actually prefers to prolong the suffering for as long as possible. If the tunnel had remained open, countless other demons would have passed through and destroyed all of mankind within a matter of weeks, which would have ruined Lord Loss' "sport". After telling Bec this, Lord Loss reminds her that of the geis that he had placed on her, and that he is bound by his word to kill her. Lord Loss sets his familiars upon Bec, and without any magic to defend herself with, she is easily overwhelmed and killed.
This book has the same first and last words "Screams in the Dark."