Little did I know that Alan's mysterious piece of paper was to change my life forever. For the worse! Darren is just your average schoolboy -- or was, at least -- until he and his friend Steve buy tickets to the outlawed magical and macabre Cirque Du Freak. Packed with wonderfully grotesque characters -- including a snake-boy, a wolf-man and, most exciting of all, an enormous performing spider -- the boys are enchanted, fascinated and yet terrified by the show. Darren, a total spider freak, decides to steal and train the spider to perform amazing tricks. Not realising the extreme consequences of his daring theft, Darren finds himself forced to make a terrible bargain with a creature of the night! Told in a compelling 'mock-umentary' style, Cirque Du Freak is more than just a spooky supernatural tale. It has bags of teaching potential, and is consistently described as one of the best books to engage reluctant readers -- and keep them reading.