Birth of a Killer

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Birth of a Killer
Birth of a Killer by Darren Shan.jpg
Birth of a Killer's cover, featuring Larten Crepsley
Author Darren Shan
Country Ireland
Language English
Series The Saga of Larten Crepsley
Genre Horror novel
Publisher Harper Collins
Publication date
30 September 2010 UK
28 September 2010 USA
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 256
OCLC 704398982
Followed by Ocean of Blood

Birth of a Killer is the first instalment in Darren Shan's The Saga of Larten Crepsley series.


The book was released in the UK and Ireland on 30 September 2010 and in the US on 28 September 2010 by best-selling teenage horror author Darren Shan. The novel is set in Europe and is told in past tense third person about Larten Crepsley, a vampire. Young Larten Crepsley and his cousin Vur Horston are in the early 19th century. It tells the story of Larten and Vur working in a silk factory until Vur is murdered by their sadistic foreman Traz. This causes Larten to kill Traz in revenge and to then try and escape.


A young Larten Crepsley and his cousin Vur Horston are in the early 19th century. It tells the story of Larten and Vur working in a silk factory until Vur is murdered by their sadistic foreman Traz. This causes Larten to kill Traz in revenge and to then try and escape.
After a few hours on the run Larten seeks cover in a crypt in a graveyard. Whilst eating cobwebs to try to satisfy his hunger, he finds himself face to face with a real-life 500-year-old vampire by the name of Seba Nile. After convincing Larten that vampires are not monsters, he asks Larten to become his assistant and eventually a half- then full-vampire. Seba then leaves to hunt to eat and give Larten time to mull things over.
Following the return of Seba, he and Larten go travelling around the world and eventually find themselves in an abandoned, run-down castle. With Larten as his assistant, Seba falls asleep safe in the knowledge that they will not be disturbed. Larten goes hunting for animals which he can drain of blood and cook for Seba and himself. Whilst preparing the food, he hears very faint footsteps behind him, knowing that it is not Seba but a vampire, he asks the unknown visitor 'will you be eating with us, sir?' he then turns round to find himself confronted with the 600-year-old Vampire Prince, Paris Skyle.

As the book continues, the vampire council (a festival – and time for meetings and story-telling – which comes round once every 12 years) comes round. Seba, who has not attended council for 24 years, after breaking his leg en route to the previous council, feels the need to attend, and so organises for Larten to stay with his good friend, the Cirque Du Freak owner, Mr. Hibernius Tall. Whilst living with the Cirque Du Freak Larten makes new friends and finds himself doing jobs, as is the way of the Cirque Du Freak. After learning card tricks, escapology, and lockpicking from Merletta (one of the freaks, a magician) he is included in one of the shows and finds that he has a taste for this sort of thing.

One morning, after a particularly sleepless night, Larten goes for a walk around the village close to the Cirque's current location. He finds himself in a group of people who are surrounding a young man (Larten's age) and 4 bodies (whose blood had been drained) on the floor. He finds out that the bodies are the Mother, Father and Siblings of the young man, who is named Wester Flack.
Wester and Larten decide to go after the 'Monster'. They reach a ruined mansion, enter, and search the rooms, where, they come across the shape of a human covered by a blanket. Larten leaves a clear route for Wester, so he can have the first strike. Just as Wester moves towards the body, Larten realises that he will have to pull the blanket off the 'Monster' before striking, losing the element of surprise, He decides to pull the blanket back so Wester can immediately strike. Just as Larten goes to pull the blanket, it is tugged out of his grasp by the figure beneath, causing Larten to get knocked to the side, knocking Wester off balance in the process. The figure underneath jumps up and is revealed to be what looks like a human but with purple skin, and red hair, eyes, lips and fingernails. The creature is momentarily distracted by his foes. Larten and Wester use this opportunity to strike, Larten with his hands and Wester with a stake. The creature pulls the stake out of Wester's hand and settles into a defensive position. After a short fight the creature talks to Larten about what he is, a Vampaneze which is a blood cousin of the vampire. He tells Larten his name Murlough but does not ask for Larten's in return. After further discussion about the ways of the Vampaneze, Murlough leaves to find a new hiding place.

Larten asks Wester if he would like to join the Cirque Du Freak, and possibly become an assistant to Seba. After 12 years, Seba, Larten and Wester (who are both full-blooded vampires now) are in Vampire Mountain at another Vampire Council about to take part in their first Festival of the Undead. The festival consists primarily of, games, drinking and dancing. During his first attempt at one of the games, Larten, who prides himself on his speed, is beaten 3 times in a row, and goes on to lose every game he takes part in. Larten takes this quite badly and ends up storming off, where, after a few hours he is found by Seba, who talks him back up to the mountain.

After the Vampire Council, Larten and Wester decide that their ultimate destiny lies in becoming a Vampire General. Upon hearing this Seba begins testing the pair in ways that they consider deeply unfair, as the tests that are set are impossible to complete. After weeks of unfair testing, things get the better of Larten who ends up arguing with Seba. After this verbal outburst Larten and Wester leave Seba and go off on their own, to make the most of what their human lives could have been.

Upon leaving Seba, Larten and Wester travel on their own until the meet up with the 'cubs', a group of Vampires who are also making the most of their lives in the way of a human. This particular group is led by a Vampire names Tanish Eul. Larten, Wester and the Cubs get involved in heavy drinking, gambling and human women.


Page 241 "Men of wealth were easy to appease. If you kept money flowing into their pockets, they backed every move you made."


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