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Demon Thief is a book in Darren Shan's The Demonata series. Though it is the second book in the series, it is a prequel to Lord Loss, the first book in the series. The protagonist is also different from that of the first book, a character called Kernel Fleck, who is the narrator of the book. Demon Thief takes place thirty years before Lord Loss so most of the characters from the first book did not appear, though a few did.
Cornelius (Kernel) Fleck has never been normal. He has spent all of his life seeing strange glowing shapes floating through the air, which he could manipulate and join. One day, being particularly depressed he is playing with some shapes that are flashing, joining them together. He opens a window and something (later discovered to be Lord Loss) passes through before returning. Kernel follows it and disappears. A few days later Kernel returns with his baby brother, Art (Artery). However, Kernel doesn't remember anything of the past few days. When he gets back he has no recollection of what happened, and is clutching his brother. The parents are troubled by this and move to a new town far away from the city called Paskinston.
After a year in Paskinston he is confronted by the local supposed witch and discovers she too sees the floating lights. Later during school she attacks and explodes. A portal is created and Cadaver (a demon) comes through followed by four 'disciples'. Cadaver kidnaps Art and retreats followed by the disciples and Kernel. Kernel learns that the disciples leader Beranabus is a magician and him Nadia, Sharmila and Raz are on a mission to find a piece of the Kah Gash (a weapon which could destroy either the demonata universe or the human world) and that Cadaver might know where it is. While chasing Cadaver the group arrive on a demon planet full of Kallin (demonata who look like worms with gaping mouths) Beranabus tells the others to hold the demons at bay while he attempts to open another window to escape. Nadia then teaches Raz, Sharmila and Kernel how to create a barrier. Raz is able to create a strong one, Sharmila's isn't as strong but Kernel's doesn't even manage to make one. They create a barrier around Beranabus and themselves and watch as the Kallin surround them. Realizing that they're going to die because of the how weak the barrier is, Kernel takes over for Beranabus and pieces together a window in which they escape. As they step through they realize that Cadaver has yet again set up another trap and are force to engage in a gruesome battle in which Raz is killed. Kernel begins to open up a window to a random city for all of them to escape. Being tied down with the fight, Nadia tells Kernel to leave them and disappears through the window, taking her chance to run away from Beranabus. Kernel ends up following her. In order to get back to the demon universe he finds a nearly open window and meets Shark and Dervish outside a building where a punk concert is taking place.
Shark says that they are trying to stop a demon being summoned. Kernel helps them find the man that's summoning it, but is too late and the demon passes through the window. It causes terror and kills a few people, including the person who summoned it, but Dervish and Shark fight it back.
Kernel persuades them to go through the window with him. They do, and find themselves in a universe where they are standing on clouds. Kernel makes a portal to Beranabus and they go through.
They meet Beranabus, and he forces Kernel to make a window to Nadia. A few hours later, he comes back with Nadia and commands Kernel to take the window apart. Grudgingly, he does. Nadia swears to kill Beranabus, but he isn't very bothered. They continue to follow Cadaver until they reach the castle of Lord Loss. They enter to find Lord Loss with Cadaver, holding Art on his lap. Beranabus demands that Lord Loss turn over Cadaver to them. Loss agrees in exchange for a member of the group. Kernel thinks that the demon wants him because he can see the lights, however Loss chooses Nadia. He then causes her to explode, much to everyone's horror. Kernel, Dervish, and Shark then begin to argue for the release of Art.
Lord Loss pulls out an ancient chess board and says that their souls will be sealed inside it. Kernel will have three guesses to who the "real thief (who stole Art)" is. If he guesses correctly, everyone can go and Kernel can have his brother back. If not, they spent an eternity in the board. Inside the board, Kernel is unable to see anything. He realizes that he is on a black space and uses magic to cause the orange marbles he still has to light everything. He then manages to find a white space which has a lava river in it. He sees a demon that looks like a child and pursues it, however he is knocked into a river of molten lava by a winged demon. He is rescued, to his surprise, by Nadia. She tells him that when she exploded her soul was not in her body. She had seen ahead and asked Lord Loss privately to take her, since she hated working for Beranabus. Saving Kernel was her last act of help to him.
After searching the board, Kernel finds both Dervish and Shark. He then uses the marbles to find Cadaver, who he believes is the thief. As he chases Cadaver down, he again sees the demon child. Finally catching Cadaver, he names him as a thief, which Lord Loss says is incorrect. Kernel then realizes that Cadaver was just a puppet and thinks that the real thief was Lord Loss, however that is also incorrect. With one chance left, Kernel again sees the demon child. Realizing that it's a clue, he finally knows who the real thief is: It's himself. When Kernel, Dervish, and Shark are released from the board, Lord Loss tells the group who the demon child is. Its name is Artery and it's one of his favorite familiars. When Kernel stepped through the portal at the beginning of the book, he was very lonely. He found Artery outside the castle, caught him, transformed him to look like a regular child, and shortened the name to Art. Since transformation magic was highly complex, Lord Loss decided to find out more about Kernel. Kernel's parents, who had lost a daughter when Kernel was four, decided to keep Art even though they knew he wasn't theirs. They moved to the village so that the people who lived in the city and were familiar with the family wouldn't find out about Art. Sharmila then asks if Kernel wants Art back. Lord Loss is willing to give Kernel Artery, who can easily be transformed back into a human, however warns them that Art will always be a demon on the inside and while he will never attack Kernel, he is certain to hurt others.
Kernel, heartbroken, decides to leave Artery and go home. However, upon arriving home, things were even worse. Seven years passed since his departure and his parents had gotten used to the loss of their children. Kernel realized that they could never truly accept him back, so he travels back to Beranabus.
Kernel then shows Beranbus how, when concentrating on making portals to anything that's with them, the lights don't pulse. For anything that's not with them, the lights pulse. When concentrating on the promised piece of the weapon, the lights don't pulse, and Kernel concludes that the piece of the Kah Gash must be him.
- Go to hell
- It's in the blood
The story is set in the 1970s. Evidence suggesting this is the fact that at a rock concert during the story, Dervish Grady (as a punk) clearly says "It's the new movement". It was during this movement the Sex Pistols came into the public eye and that Kernel mentions packing up his records when moving to a new house.
|<< 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)|