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Trials of Death
Date Released 2001
Author Darren Shan
Series The Saga of Darren Shan
Publisher Little, Brown
Number of Pages 202
Previous Book "Vampire Mountain"
Succeeding Book "The Vampire Prince"

The newer UK cover

Trials of Death is the fifth book in The Saga of Darren Shan and the second book in the Vampire Rites Trilogy.


Darren Shan must take the Trials of Initiation in order to earn the respect of the Vampire Clan. His first task is the Aquatic Maze, where he must go through a maze that slowly fills up with water while dragging a heavy rock. His second task is the Path of Needles, where he must go through an area filled with sharp stalagmites and falling stalactites.. His third task is the Hall of Flames, in which Darren is burned and loses his hair. In his fourth task, the Blooded Boars, Harkat interferes in order to save Darren's life. This goes against Vampire code and Darren will be executed. Before facing execution, however, Kurda Smahlt assists Darren flee down the tunnels of Vampire Mountain. They soon meet up with Gavner Purl, who joins them in aiding Darren's escape. Unsuspectedly, they run into a group of Vampaneze along the way. While Gavner attempts to fight them off, it is revealed that Kurda is a traitor to the clan, as he kills Gavner. Darren ends up falling down in the torrent and was dragged away by the falls, despite Kurda's best efforts to save him.

--Characters-- Larten Crepsley, Darren Shan, Kurda Smahlt, Gavner Purl, Harkat Mulds, Vanez Blane, Seba Nile, Arra Sails, Streak (wolf), Rudi (wolf cub), Arrow, Mika Ver Leth, Paris Skyle, Magda, Cyrus, Otto, Vin Bishwald (name not mentioned until Book 7: Hunters of the Dusk)