The Shadowlands is the third and final book in second series of Deltora Quest. Unlike the other books in the Deltora Quest series this one starts in the first part of the quest where the heroes finds what they need, and then the second part where they face the Shadow Lord. This also marks the first time Lief, Barda, and Jasmine travel with another companion since Glock's death at the hands of The Fear.
"Lief, Barda and Jasmine have two parts of the fabled Pirran Pipe. Now they must seek the final part on the emerald isle of Keras. The Pipe is their only chance of saving the thousands of Deltorans enslaved in the Shadowlands, for it is said to be the only thing the Shadow Lord fears in his own domain.
But can the Pipe be made whole? And if it can, will its ancient magic still prevail against the enemy's sorcery? Or are the companions walking into a trap? Filled with doubts they move on, knowing that, whatever happens, their quest will end in the darkness and horror of the Shadowlands itself."
Lief, Barda, and Jasmine have obtained two of the three sections of the Pirran Pipe, which is stated in legend as the only weapon that could be used to combat the Shadow Lord in his own domain. Penn, the Auron history-keeper, and the other Aurons row the companions up to the Forbidden Way, an entrance that separates the islands of Auron and Kerras. As the three companions enter the Forbidden Way (the Aurons and Kerons have decided on an implicit truce that neither can enter the other tribe's territory), they are attacked by scores of airborn leeches. Unable to fend the creatures off, the three use Lief's cloak as a cover. As they are knocked unconscious, the companions drift past the Forbidden Way into Keron territory. The flash of light repels the leeches and saves the three from a horrifying death.
When they wake up, they are surrounded by the Kerons, who were able to manipulate moths to create weapons. After brief introductions are made, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine are led into the Kerons' underground city by the Piper, a woman named Tirral. The companions were brought into a council, where they quickly ask the Kerons for their piece of the Pirran Pipe. Tirral agrees to lend them her treasure, but first states that the Kerons must first obtain something in return: the Belt of Deltora. Lief immediately agrees, as the group will be in the Shadowlands soon and it is death to take the gems beyond the borders of Deltora. Tirral agrees with the trade in order to maintain her tribe's respect, but claims that the Belt is powerless underground. After she plays the Pipe for the first time in centuries, she discovers that the companions cannot play a flute, and she claims that it will be useless for them to take the third part of the Pipe. However, her son, Emlis, volunteers to journey with the three up to the Shadowlands.
The Kerons take the group into the grey seas that are beneath the Shadowlands, and prepare to transport them upwards. Tirral warns the group that Pirra can never be reclaimed, and tells them to save the Pipe for when it is most needed. The group are then transported into the Shadowlands, sealed in by a shutting spell. The immediately seek cover to avoid being spotted by Ak-Baba, but Emlis is kidnapped and attacked by strange, carnivorous beetles. A new terror arises when monstrous humanoids attack, but they are briefly cowed by the appearance of the Shadow Lord's brand appears in the sky. The four seize their chance to escape, but are pinned between the humanoids and a massive, multi-headed beast. Lief goads the humanoids into attacking, tricking them into attacking and wounding the beast, which reveals itself not to be multi-headed, but carrying its young in pouches, which make short work of the humanoids. Having been feeling a sadness since their arrival, Lief uses the Pipe to counteract it.
They discuss their next mork, but Lief is pulled into an underground cavern by a trio of three escaped prisoners; Jalis warrior Gers, who resembles the deceased Glock; Brianne of Lees; and Mikal of Del, who goes by the name Claw due to his hand having been mutated into strong talons - a precursor to the creautres outside, the Wild Ones, who are really mutated Deltorans. Claw had escaped beforehis mind was stolen. The prisoners suspect them as spies, but when Jasmine reveals their knowledge of Glock and returns most of their families talisman (save, of course, the mouthpiece of the Pipe), Gers believes her. The prisoners lead them to their main hideout, but it has been destroyed by Grey Guards and the inhabitants (some of which are would-be-assassins of Lief's) missing. They emerge, and they head towards Factory, but are attacked by a Vraal.
The prisoners burrow into the mounds outside the Factory, while Lief, Barda, Jasmine and Emlis hide behind them. Then, they learn to their horror, that the mounds are composed of the still-living and decaying bodies of Grey Guards, who feebly attempt to capture them, and send up a cry of reporting them to the Shadow Lord, attracting the Vraal's attention. Quickly, the group escape into the Factory itself. The Vraal attacks the building, distracting the nearby Guards. Jasmine seizes the chance to hide in a room apparently forbidden to Grey Guards, filled with bodies forming in vats. They notice the Carn Pod, despite members of them being outside in the mounds, but are interrupted when they have to hide from 3-19, a Grade 3 Ol in the guise of Fallow and Prandine, and Tira, now on the side of the Shadow Lord. The conversation reveals that Grey Guards last for a limited time, and are then replaced and thrown away, and that Tira is part of the "Conversion Project."
They find said project in another room: hundreds of pale worms with scarlet heads - the same creatures as the one in Amarantz's brain. A Dread Gnome, Pi-Ban, one of Claw's friends and a Resistance fighter, begs them to free him from his cage, but they are unable to, and as Barda and Lief struggle with the cage, Jasmine asks Pi-Ban about Faith. Pi-Ban also comments that three of the Baks were killed by the Vraal, which had pursued a fourth from the Factory. Lief, Barda, Jasmine and Emlis are forced to hide when the Project and the cage are to be transported to the Shadow Arena, though the Baks disagree with 3-19 over whether the covers should be pulled down.
As they are taken to the Arena, they see the audience is composed of Grey Guards, Wild Ones, Ra-Kacharz, and primarily of Grade 1 and 2 Ols. Tira and another converted Resistance fighter, Hellena, explain the Conversion Project to the assembled prisoners. While they are doing so, Claw attempts to rescue the group, but is told instead to infiltrate the prisoners and pass on a message to wait for a signal and make for the hills. Unfortunately, the plan goes awry when the Shadow Lord arrives, and the terrified Guards, despite 3-19's orders, attempt to cover the cage as per policy, discovering Lief, Barda, Jasmine and Emlis, they knock the group out with sparking rods, and only Emlis escapes.
Locked in the cage with Pi-Ban, the group get their first sighting of Faith, and Jasmine and Lief argue briefly about not telling each other about secrets that they kept. The cage is then uncovered, and the Shadow Lord immediately uses his powers to flatten everyone save the Ols; leaving 3-19 to open the Conversion Project. The Ol hesitates after Lief warns him that the Project will replace him, and is this struck down, releasing the Project. With one note from the Pirran Pipe, Lief destroys the Project and holds back the Shadow Lord and the Ak-Baba, but he is unable to do more than stall the Shadow Lord as the Jalis prisoners free the group, until Emlis is revealed to have hung onto the bottom of the cage and the young Keron plays the Pipe, playing of home, and alerting the Kerons to their plight. They transport every single Deltoran into the underground seas, and the combined magic of the Plumes, Aurons, and Kerons rescue the Deltorans from drowning, Penn herself rescuing Lief, Barda and Jasmine. Before the group are spirited home, Lief, Barda and Jasmine are given soul-stones to allow them to remember their adventures as Doran did, and then they are transported to Del.
Once back, Lief reveals that he had been wearing a copy of the Belt of Deltora; the real one had been with Marilen, his distant cousin, and thus the next in line to the throne. They have discovered many other descendants of Adin as well, ensuring Lief's safety in one regard. Lief is also informed about the gossip that Marilen was to be his bride, as she goes to apologise to Josef and Ranesh. The young king was quite surprised, but vows to marry for love as Adin did, sharing an unspoken agreement with Jasmine. They think in satisfaction that now they can rebuild.
- Penn of Auron
- Emlis of Keras
- Tirral, the Piper of the Kerons
- The Keron tribe
- Brianne of Lees
- The Shadow Lord
- The Shadowlands is the only book set in the Shadowlands.