|Previous Book||"Wolf Island"|
|Succeeding Book||"Hell's Heroes"|
We see Kernel’s perspective of recent events starting with how the demon Spine destroys his eyes, before he linked up with Grubbs and Bec. Then he remembers rapidly going through hundreds of demonic universes with them and Beranabus, who later reveals that they travelled through time, they fight again in the cave then Beranabus leaves Bec behind and takes Grubbs with them. In the demonate universe he creates new eyes and now can see other patches of light. Patches that do not react to him. However they do whisper to him. Meera and Shark came to find them and they end up in the hospital fighting demons that came after Dervish and Bec. On the roof of the hospital they discuss what to do and Grubbs goes off with Meera and Shark to find the Lambs. While Sharmilla who lost her legs to the demons and Dervish who has heart problems alongside Bec come with him and Beranabus into Demonata Universe. During all this the new patches of light seem to be exerting some form of control over him, possibly through a spell, which prevents him from telling anyone about the whispers, or objecting to opinions that could lead to a trap. He is forced to say things that aren’t his own words and as he spots Juni Swan on a cruise liner, he knows it as a trap, but can do nothing from preventing his associates from going there anyway. Once there he is left on the top deck, keeping the window to the demon oasis open. He is shocked to see the "new lights" form into a solid ball of light which changes the colour of the window and tells him to follow it into the window. Not wanting to abandon his friends, he refuses, but then the dead on board the liner rise and begin to attack. Kernel forms a magical shield to keep them out, but the ball of light possesses one of the zombies, breaks through the barrier and begins to wrestle with Kernel. It is at this point that we see the parallels between Dark Calling and Death's Shadow, when Bec emerges from the hull just as the zombie explodes, forcing Kernel back into the window.
He is cocooned by the ball of light which can read his thoughts which it does as they travel through a strange space tunnel filled with patches of light, he falls through a green window and finds himself on a planet with acidic air and man-made structures. A slug like creature attacks him and he saved by Artery, Lord Loss’s familiar who turns into Art (his fake brother) and explains he is the ball of light from the ship. He created this body from the corpse of this world, from the slug thing which he states are descended from creatures just as industrious as humans, the Atlanteans. For Atlantis wasn’t a mythical continent or city it was the closet inhabitable planet to earth. They explored their sector of the universe but wanted more, in order to go further they tried to harness the raw energy of the universe and this led to the fall of their civilization and as their ships were linked all but a few perished and the survivors became the slugs that now fill the planet. When they travelled to Earth, they thought humanity to build and write but they didn’t breed with them. It then reveals itself as one of the Old Creatures and tells him, he will take him to the Crux. They go from planet to planet until they come to an aquatic world where the inhabitants celebrate its coming with a long dance, for they, the Old Creatures once saved them from a demonic invasion into their world. He spots a chessboard and Art explains that the game doesn’t mean anything it is the board that is important. For each original board is a map of the universe.
As they start travelling again Art explains that they leave every planet eventually and that they are from the original universe. They are as old as this universe but they existed without beginning before it and they are almost ageless, for they are no longer immortal. He promises to reveal the secrets of the universe, the origins of life and the cause of the Big Bang, but Kernel has no idea what that is. They have been travelling for four days, Art tells him it will be his choice whether to go back to Earth or not at the end of their journey, he states that the only guarantee is death and is about to tell him something else as they come to a world which is overrun by horse like demons called the Sligstata. Kernel is forced to fight them as the Old Creature is opening another portal. It saves him and in the next world, it explains that the world has just fallen to the demons, for a tunnel was used to bring them there, even worse the giant demons he saw in the sky are a convoy, they have gathered groups of lodestones to sustain themselves while they traverse space with hordes of demons on their back in search for other worlds to ravage. If one of these came through near Earth like on Atlantis it would drop out of the sky one day and conqueror the entire planet. Still this journey would take millennia, but the demons are patient and there are many of them doing this as they speak. It then reveals that all world will end and death will claim all and worse the earth is doomed to fall within a year. The Old Creatures want life to continue, they want the universe to end naturally not at the hands of the Demonata.
The final stretch of their journey takes them to death and ruinous worlds and Art explains these were the first worlds life emerged on and that they nurture it, they did not create it and that there are forces at work beyond their knowledge. They also don’t know what happens to their souls after they die. They arrive at the Crux. Art protects him as it takes him through fires of the slightly ball like Crux. They emerge into a grey oval like space filled with space debris and enormous square panels. The white panels have Demonata near them and the black have Old Creatures near them. Art explains this is a neutral place, they the Old Creatures don’t experience individuality when they are together but regardless, Kernel posses his questions to Art. They answer his questions telling him that the original universe was like a chess board with thirty-two black squares and thirty-two white squares. These were the zones of the universe and each was limitless in size, time did not exist and the universe existed forever. This was the case for both them and the original Demonata. The 64 zones were separated from each other by a force known as the Kah-Gash. Old Creatures lived in the blacks zones and the Demonata on the Whites, separated from each other by the Kah-Gash. The Old Creatures were sterile while the Demonata could reproduce. They were immortal but could be killed. They were never meant to mix and the Kah-Gash kept them separate. One of the demons touches a black square and dies and Art tells Kernel that the original Demonata have existed so long that they formed bonds and that both Demonate and Old Creatures come here to die. Art goes on to explain that they didn’t know each other but the Demonata managed to break through and that is when they learned about pain, suffering and loss, in response they had to mature fast to fight back against the Demonata. Eventually the Kah-Gash buckled under the strain of the crossings and fighting and the Kah-Gash fractured. All 64 zones shrunk to the size of a speck and the universe exploded splitting in two. Where before there was one, comprised of the 64 zones and the Kah-Gash. It, the Kah-Gash created the two universes hoping that they would keep the warring races divided. It didn’t. The Crux is the place that both universes have in common, for it is where the explosion that created the human and the Demonata universe happened, here they overlap and spread outwards. The panels are the remains of the body of the Kah-Gash. While its soul flew off with everything else. Kernel wonders if the Kah-Gash has 64 souls, but Art tells him there are only three him, Bec and... . Before he can name the third, something happens the panels starts drifting towards him. Art takes him out of the Crux, explaining they didn’t expect this reaction and stating they hope they will stop once they are out of the Crux, they also don’t know what would happen if they reunited with him. The Demons attack and a fight ensues, Art is killed and he is thrown into the space tunnel without protection.
Another ball of light saves him and takes the form of Raz. It explains that Art died and that the reason why they would risk so much for him will soon be made clear. It tells him to use the nearby lodestone to heal himself, which he does. It goes on to explain they can’t reproduce and that since the breaking of the Kah-Gash all creatures age and eventually die. The Demonata want to use the Kah-Gash to destroy both universes so that the old laws are restored and they won’t die. For the Kah-Gash can draw both universes back to the time of the Big Bang and restore the original universe. If this were to happen all life forms of Kernel’s universe would never exist but the offspring of the Demonata would for they came from the original Demons and all life in this universe came from its birth, they are not the offspring of the Old Creatures. They guided the life of this universe and helped their souls develop but they’re not of them. Raz tells him he needs to eat and that they will be going to a spaceship.
In the hold of the space ship he eats and drinks some bad tasting food, they then explore the ship and the strange slimy tendril aliens within. Raz also explains that they sowed intelligence and that there are many mental similarities between ensouled creatures. The three parts of the Kah-Gash shot ahead of the blast, darting inside and out of the new universes, then they slowed and drifted or would pop from one part to another part. The patches of light he sees are the physical remains of the Kah-Gash and they can’t see them. Only the eyes of the Kah-Gash can, which he is. The other parts are the memory and the trigger. The memory stores all that happens, the eyes see the hidden strings of the universe and the trigger is the commanding force of the Kah-Gash. The Demonata sought after the pieces to reassemble them and destroy the universes. For a long while they didn’t appear, but when they did they could turn up anywhere, in a comet, rock, tree, animal and even within one of the new demons. They never merged with the original demons or the Old Creatures, but all other forms were fair game. When the Demonata finally found one, they learned they could influence its destination when it moved from one form to another. Since the pieces can float freely through the universes they were content to wait billions of year to get their hands on all three. The Old Creatures couldn’t allow them to reunite the pieces as the felt responsible for the new life in this universe. The Old Creatures could enter the Demonata universe and they sent out raids to free a captured piece of the Kah-Gash by destroying its form and distracting the demons from influencing its next emergence. Some of them always died in these raids and sometimes as now is the case all three pieces existed within the same universe. Since they can’t procreate they realized they couldn’t keep going like this indefinitely for one day they would all have died and the Demonata would have been free to wait to capture all three pieces and recreate the old universe, only this time without the Old Creatures in it. This prompted them to play God and interfere with the new creatures of this universe, by guiding their souls, this mistake however allowed for the Demonata to finally be able to cross into their universe.
Raz construct a new window and takes Kernel to a graveyard world of nearby space-faring races. He explains that by shaping the minds of the universe creatures they hoped to cheat destiny. There are now millions of races with the power of thought. Yet intelligence was never meant for this universe, for every intelligent being has a soul. A soul forms when a creature thinks for the first time, when it reasons and makes plans. Sometime it happens in an entire species at the same time, other times one of them makes a mental leap and passes it on to its offspring, intelligence spreading like a genetic disease. They cultivated it and learned how to make it grow and they spread it across the universe. They didn’t have the right to do this, but nearly all those with intelligence would rather exist with it then without it. Some refuse to overcome their challenges but most rise to the occasion. Life is easy for animals but so much richer for those who can love and hate, fight and make peace, dream and hope. The original boards are key to this process of this development. They made them out of material from the Crux and modelled them after the original universe. Once a species reaches a certain point they would isolate their souls, take them into their original board and explain everything to them, most importantly their need to reach for the stars. Humans however haven’t reached that point yet and never will. He takes him to a lodestone and explains they are the remnants of the planets of the original universe. They used them to travel the vast expanse but the species they guided could be as vicious as the Demonata, with many craving power. Each world produced people with magical talents and though most were good mages, somewhere bad and opened the way for the Demonata to come into the universe, first through windows then with the lodestones. The Old Creatures didn’t stop them or appoint their own leaders for their belief was to guide not to rule. But once entire civilizations fell to the demons, they thought about shutting everything down. Killing all intelligent life but it was too late and bad an option to do this. They were content by the knowledge that the Demonata could not kill all life, could not ruin every world. This all changed 1600 years ago with Bec, who introduced a new player Death.
Raz explains how Death used to be a force, but that when Bec stole the piece of the Kah-Gash that had been within Lord Loss for thousands of years allowing him to freely cross between universes, and then survived her death at his hands, things changed. Death had always been the end, when something died, its soul moved on, maybe to another realm, or to be reincarnated or maybe into nothingness. But no soul ever cheated death. Death is absolute and the Kah-Gash should have no power over it. They are not sure whether she chose to remain or the Kah-Gash forced her to remain knowing about the side effects. For her not moving on, caused Death to become conscious, aware of its role and it reacted with anger. The new death constructed a body for it can deny souls passage to what is beyond and use shadows and magic to harness them. The Shadow is Death and since Death claims all things, it knows where all things are. It now resides in the demon universe for it can only thrive in an area of magic. It reach however extends to all worlds and it can guide the Demonata to wherever there is life. Raz tells Kernel that they think the reason it works for the Demonata is because it shares their goal of returning the original universe in order to lessen his workload for there are countless more souls now then there were before. They don’t think Death can be stopped and they can’t trust the Kah-Gash for it might have wanted this to happen to also return to the original universe. It also has changed, it used to cut randomly across the universe, but since Bec became trapped the other pair became drawn to earth. The Old Creatures tried to guide them away from Earth but it was in vain and not they have re-emerged in him and Grubbs.
Raz takes him to a viewing station, looking out over a strange planet. It is filled with countless of different creatures like a zoo and is full of magic. Raz explains all of them have souls and that this is their arc which they intend to keep safe with the magic of many lodestones they gathered here. They even brought some humans even though they are less intelligent then most of the other races here. They explore the ark and Raz presents Kernel with a choice: stay and protect the ark as an immortal, keeping it safe from the Demonata and Death, by opening windows to escape, or return to Earth to certain death. Kernel ponders this and decides, drawing on his experience, to at least try and save the universe and not stay to wonder if he could have made a difference. He decides that if the attack against Death fails, providing he survives, he will return to the Ark and fulfil his duty. He instructs Raz to wait and returns to earth. After Raz gives him a final warning to be weary of Bec.
He returns to a battle which he helps to win, by disassembling the demonic windows. He is initially surprised by Grubbs' new wolfen appearance. He learns this is the fourth city the demons attacked and that now everybody knows about the demons and the threat they pose against the world. Everyone discusses what to do next and what happened to them, Kernel is able to make the lights pulse for Beranabus and Bill-E , suggesting that their souls still exist within Death. Bec is convinced Beranabus is waiting for them to try this, the other aren’t. They decide to first test the power of the Kah-Gash. Grubbs, Bec and Kernel himself go to the next city which is under attack and they used the power of the Kah-Gash to trap all the demons in a net of magic and throw them alongside the evil mage back through the window in shreds. They argue about whether to go after death, Grubbs doesn’t like the idea now that he knows Beranabus is involved, but when Kernel tells him that Bill-E is there as well, Grubbs is ready to go. Kernel then tries to opens a window to Beranabus, but is unsuccessful so they go to the Demonata Universe, here he sense Juni and Lord Loss on a planet surrounded by billions of demons. He succeeds to create a window to Beranabus and he leads Bec, Dervish, Meera Flame, Kirilli Kovacs, Grubbs Grady and his remaining entourage of sixteen werewolves into the shadow.
Bec is the first one to learn to adapt to the new realm and she teaches the others. How to see and communicate she further tells them that Death will soon be aware of them. Bec tells him to use his power as the eyes of the Kah-Gash, he objects but quickly realizes she is right he can distinguish countless shades of black and grey and the different souls within the shadows. He then hones into the souls and tries to communicate but they are just screaming in madness. He sends out a pulse looking for Beranabus and gets a reply and eventually the all meet up with the soul of Beranabus. The others can hear him but only Kernel can see him. Bec shares all that has happened with them and Beranabus tells them they can free all the souls but it won’t stop death. Death notices and tries to stop them but they manage to tear its body and after the first souls are set free all of them follow and death collapses losing its form. They all drop onto the planet below death, the planet Lord Loss and Juni are on with billions of demons that eagerly surround them. Grubbs talks to Lord Loss as he tries to construct a window. They then unite the Kah-Gash to form a barrier but Kirilli is outside of it. They are forced to release the barrier or else risk the Kah-Gash overtaking them, it explodes outward and they prepare to fight and die. Grubbs is dragged away and Bec is flown away by angry demons. Kernel goes down but is saved from a dinosaur like demon by Dervish. He tells him he needs a minute, meanwhile Grubbs is back in action, Bec has forced her demon to the ground but Meera is deathly wounded. Then out of nowhere Kirilli who has turned his hand in a scythe rescues her. Kernel calls for help and Grubbs and he werewolves come towards him, meanwhile Bec had defeated the flying demon only to be faced by Lord Loss. Juni has started fighting Dervish and Meera comes to his aid, just like Grubbs and the remaining werewolves have come to Kernel’s. Meera then wraps her arms around Juni and smiles stating the shadow is gone for now so when she dies she is finished. She then explodes her own body to destroy Juni once and for all. There is a short lull in the battle but then chaos continues, a werewolf gets killed Kirille loses a foot and Bec and Lord Loss are still going at however it appears to Kernel she is consorting with him, not fighting. A blue window opens and Kirilli grabs Dervish arm and pulls him through. Bec tells them to go, and Kernel leaves falling on the floor of Beranabus cave. He starts to dismantle the window as some of the werewolves come through alongside a demons which is quickly killed by them. Grubbs comes through followed by two more werewolves but the third is pulled away and cut in twain as the window disintegrates. Kernel reveals to Grubbs that he plans to return to the Ark. Grubbs appears to be resigned to this and tells him to send Kirilli to a hospital and to open the cave so Dervish can die while looking at the sky. Kernel does this, then Grubbs blinds Kernel, preventing him from patching lights together to reach the Old Creature and go to the ark. Kernel is left injured and blind on the floor of the cave as Grubbs goes to Dervish who is ready to die.
Cover Competition and Revelation
In May 2008, Darren Shan ran a competition in which he asked fans to describe a demon in which he will use in the book. Since that was the first time that was offered to fans, the response was overwhelming. After the submissions were over, the staff at Waterstones and HarperCollins narrowed the entrants down to a shortlist of ten finalists. After Shan himself read through the final ten entries, he chose the winning Demon created by Tom Woodhead. The winner created the Sligstata, which is featured on the front cover of the book. The runners-up for the competition are:
- — Craviji
- Jaspreet Manoor — Abnormula
- Dennis Wisdom — Scalefang
- Josh Walker — Grendulamb
- Elizabeth Dunford — Vaeloch
- Claire Reeves — Quietus
- Jacob Baylis — Intestine
- Amanda Parker — Tourniquet
- Alessandro Luca Pozzolo — Butterfang
The signed copy of the book had a typing error in the last few words and has become a collectible together with the first books sold before the error was corrected.Sometimes there can be an error on page 51, saying that the Shadow originated in the Crux, when it should be the Old Creatures.
|<< The Saga of Darren Shan||The Demonata (Narrator in Parentheses)|
|#01||"Lord Loss"||(Grubbs)||#05||"Blood Beast"||(Grubbs)||#09||"Dark Calling"||(Kernel)|
|#02||"Demon Thief"||(Kernel)||#06||"Demon Apocalypse"||(Grubbs)||#10||"Hell's Heroes"||(Grubbs)|
|#03||"Slawter"||(Grubbs)||#07||"Death's Shadow"||(Bec)||#Bonus||"Shanta Clause"||(Shanta)|