The Lake of Souls

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The Lake of Souls
TheLakeofSouls.jpg
First edition
Author Darren Shan
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series The Saga of Darren Shan
Genre Young adult, Horror novel[suspsense]
Publisher Collins (UK)
Little, Brown (US)
Publication date
October 2003 (UK)
31 August 2005 (US)
Media type Print (Paperback) (Hardcover)
Pages 220
ISBN 0-00-715919-6
Preceded by Killers of the Dawn
Followed by Lord of the Shadows

The Lake of Souls is the 10th book in The Saga of Darren Shan and is also the first in the 4th and final trilogy in 'The Saga' called The Vampire Destiny Trilogy. The book adds many more questions that will be answered in the final books, and introduces the character Spits Abrams. This book is the longest in the series.

Plot[edit]

After the events of the Killers of the Dawn, Darren returns to the Cirque du Freak with Harkat, and after many months of numbness, finally breaks down and accepts Mr Crepsley's passing. Several months later, Debbie Hemlock and Police Chief Alice Burgess arrive at the Circus, wishing to create a human army to combat the Vampets. Darren and Harkat agree to act as buffers with the Vampire Princes to help, but before they can set off, Mr. Tiny appears. Harkat's nightmares have returned; it is time for the Little Person to discover his former identity, or fall into madness. When Mr. Tiny informs Darren that Harkat has little hope of success without him, he decides to join his friend, leaving the two women to make their own way to Vampire Mountain. Darren and Harkat walk through a mysterious portal to a strange, desolate world.

Mr. Tiny informs them to head west until they come reach the territory of a black panther they must kill to find a clue. The pair narrowly succeed, and retrieve a map from the panther's skin. They also find the panther's teeth are inscribed with letters that spell Harkat's name, but learn nothing more. The map tells them they must head to a swamp of a giant toad to grab some "gelatinous globes". They retrieve them, but Darren is attacked by alligators as he tries to escape. He is unexpectedly saved by Lady Evanna, who offers to trek with them until they reach a giant lake and assist them with fashioning a boat to cross it. Evanna then leaves, telling them to collect holy liquid from the 'Temple of the Grotesque' on the other side. As the voyage comes to an end they are attacked by a dragon, and barely escape with their lives.

Darren wakes up in the home of a pirate and drunkard named Spits Abrams, who has no idea how he came to this world from the 1930s, and has been informed by Mr. Tiny that Darren and Harkat, the first human-like creatures he has seen since he arrived, are a chance for him to fulfill his dreams. Although neither trusts the man, they decide to let him join them in their quest, partly to use his fishing net to retrieve Harkat's soul, but also to give Darren a supply of blood.

The three soon come across a tribe they dub Kulashkas (they are chanting "kulashka" more than any other word), who look strangely similar to the Guardians of the Blood from Vampire Mountain, and indulge in human sacrifice to feed the monstrous Grotesque, milking the monster's fangs for its venom, the holy liquid, stored in vials. Darren and Harkat enter the temple to extract these vials, but are discovered by the Kulashkas and are then attacked by the Grotesque. The Kulashkas eventually call the beast off, offering Darren and Harkat safe passage if they leave without the vials. The pair attempt to comply, but Spits drunkenly intervenes, stealing and throwing Harkat's vial at the monster. The vial smashes, and the explosive venom blows the Grotesque apart, causing the temple to collapse. Darren, Harkat and Spits escape by smashing through the floor and falling into darkness.

They end up in a tunnel, following it until they reach what appears to be a fallout shelter, with drinks and food in a fridge. A note signed by Mr. Tiny informs them that a short walk will take them to the Lake of Souls. Harkat discovers some postcards that seem to bother him, but he does not explain why.

They soon arrive at a valley where the Lake lies, which is also the home of five dragons. Darren and Harkat figure out that they should make bombs, filling the 'gelatinous globes' with the Grotesque venom to frighten the dragons away. As they reach the lakeside, the dragons stop attacking. Spits explains when Mr. Tiny brought him here, he told him that a spell prevents the dragons to be closer than eight metres to the Lake unless a living person fell into it. He reveals that he is a cannibal, who fed his crew members meat butchered from those fished out of the sea. Spits vows to stay by the Lake of Souls, feeding off victims for the rest of his life. Darren and Harkat refuse to allow him to carry out his plan, and in the struggle that follows, Spits is accidentally knocked out the eight metre zone. A dragon sets the pirate on fire and he falls into the lake, breaking the spell.

While being ruthlessly attacked, Harkat pulls up his former identity, revealed to be Kurda Smahlt. The world freezes and Mr. Tiny appears to congratulate them and spirits the trio away, explaining that Harkat was created to help protect Darren for Mr. Tiny's plans, Kurda being chosen because he was Darren's friend in life. Mr. Tiny then informs them that, since Kurda and Harkat are of the same soul, only one can normally survive. Although Mr. Tiny had a means of protecting Harkat's soul when he and Kurda lived in the present at the same time, no such mechanism is in place now, and Harkat will soon disappear, albeit with a guaranteed escape from the Lake of Souls. Kurda eventually decides to sacrifice himself to allow Harkat to carry on his life, with Harkat choosing to risk a possible return to the Lake so he can carry on helping Darren in his quest.

As Kurda prepares for his second death, Darren and Harkat return to their world, arriving at the Cirque du Freak. Harkat discovers the panther teeth also spell the name KURDA SMAHLT; Harkat's name is an anagram and the answer was in front of them all along. Harkat also takes out the postcards, pointing the time and date it was sent, noting that it was all dated twelve, twenty, thirty, and fifty years later. Harkat then reveals his theory: that the barren land they had visited was the future.

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